Preventing Accidental Injury.
KDHE Office of Communications
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that between years 2000 and 2006 there were at least 180 deaths related to tip-overs of furniture, televisions or appliances. Most of these deaths, 80 percent of them, involved children younger than 10. In 2007, the CPSC identified this issue as one of the top five hidden home hazards. “Kids can be seriously injured or killed as a result of climbing onto, falling against or pulling themselves up on shelves, bookcases, dressers, TV tables and other furniture,” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas Director.
CPSC data also shows that in 2006 there were 19,300 injuries associated with product instability or tip-overs involving children younger than 10. That number is almost half of all estimated instability and tip-over injuries during 2006. “If a piece of furniture is unstable or top-heavy, fasten it to a wall using brackets, screws or wall straps,” says Stegelman. “Keep heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers. Don't keep remote controls, candy or other tempting items on unstable stands or tables. A child might be enticed to reach for the top and pull down the object, the stand or both,” says Stegelman.
“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. Other steps everyone can take to protect children at home include teaching children not to climb or jump on furniture and pushing the TV as far back as possible from the front of its stand.
Kids are also in danger of suffocation if they become accidentally trapped in a cabinet, toy chest or laundry machine. In 2007 alone there were 3,270 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, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, 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.