Furniture Tip-Over Safety

dresserThe tip-over problem is epidemic: Someone in the U.S. is injured every 17 minutes by a furniture, television, or appliance tip-over, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The vast majority of the victims are children younger than 6. Many times, they cause the tip-over by climbing on the front of a dresser or by playing inside a drawer. 

Improving safety

  • You can take quick, easy and low-cost steps to prevent furniture tip-over deaths and injuries. With a little effort, 100 per cent of tip-over incidents can be prevented. To make your home safe:
  • Secure televisions and tall or unstable furniture to wall studs or floors with appropriate anchoring devices. Brackets, braces or wall straps can be used, and these can be purchased from hardware stores or furniture retailers.
  • Follow the directions provided with new furniture or appliances on how to install any anchoring equipment supplied.
  • Install child-resistant locks on drawers to prevent drawers from being opened and used as steps to climb on.
  • Open only one drawer at a time and close all drawers that you are not using.
  • Store heavy items on lower shelves or drawers of bookcases, wardrobes or cupboards.
  • Do not place televisions or heavy objects on top of chests of drawers or furniture not intended for use with a television.
  • Discourage children from climbing on furniture.
  • Avoid putting tempting items (e.g. favorite toys, remote controls) on top of furniture, as this may encourage climbing.
  • Do not place unstable furniture in children’s bedrooms or near play areas.
  • Encourage others to anchor furniture around their homes, particularly if your children regularly visit (e.g. grandparents).

Tips when buying new furniture

  • When buying furniture, ask staff to advise on safer options for homes with small children. You should also consider the following:
  • Choose storage furniture that is low-set with a sturdy, wide base that sits directly on the floor (rather than on legs).
  • Look for furniture that comes with safety information and appropriate equipment for anchoring it to the floor or wall.
  • Test furniture in the shop before purchasing (e.g. pull out a drawer and apply a little pressure to check that it is stable and ensure drawers cannot be pulled out easily).