Preventing Accidental Injury.
KDHE Office of Communications
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that in 2005 at least 3,000 children younger than 5 were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms because of injuries associated with TV tip-overs. Between 8,000 to 10,000 people — mostly children — each year go to the emergency room with injuries from furniture tipping over, and about six are killed. In the years between 2000 and 2005, the CPSC states they were sent notifications of 36 deaths due to TVs tipping over and 65 deaths due to furniture tipping over. Kids can be seriously injured or killed as a result of climbing on shelves, bookcases, dressers, TV tables and other furniture.
“If a piece of furniture is top-heavy or unstable, fasten it to a wall using angle braces or anchors,” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator. “Keep heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers.” Televisions, stereos, or favorite toys sitting on a table or stand might entice a child to reach for the top and pull down the object, the stand or both.
“Tie up loose cords, too — a child pulling on an electrical cord, or tripping on one, could pull an appliance off a stand,” says Stegelman.
In response to several child fatalities from furniture-related head injuries, Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), Vito Fossella (R-NY) and Frank LoBiondo (R-NY) introduced legislation to establish a federal government safety standard for furniture in danger of tipping over. If passed, the legislation would require certain furniture to be sold with anchoring devices.
Kids are also in danger of suffocation if they become accidentally trapped in a cabinet, toy chest or laundry machine. In 2006 alone, there were more than 3,800 injuries to children ages 2-14 involving toy chests. Always supervise children around any confined space and keep the doors closed and locked.
Toy chests that meet voluntary standards set by the CPSC are equipped with lid supports that hold the lid open in any position. The standards also call for ventilation holes to prevent suffocation. “If you have a toy chest with a lid that doesn’t stay open, the CPSC recommends you remove the lid or install a spring-loaded lid support,” says Stegelman.
“These are not hazards that kill thousands of children every year, like vehicle crashes or drowning, but they are so easy to prevent and the consequences can be so severe,” says Stegelman. “Don’t underestimate the possibility of a small child being crushed by unsteady furniture.”
For more information about home safety, visit www.usa.safekids.org.
Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Norton, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide , a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. For more information visit www.safekidskansas.org.