The Tipping Point: CPSC Urges Parents to Inspect and Secure TVs, Furniture, and Appliances to Prevent Tip-Over Deaths and Injuries

September 22, 2009

For young children, the home is a playground, and while many parents childproof to ensure that their home is a safe place, some may not be aware that unsecured TVs, furniture and appliances are hidden hazards lurking in every room. Today, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging parents once again to take simple, low-cost steps to prevent deaths and injuries associated with furniture, TV, and appliance tip-overs.

CPSC staff estimates that in 2006, 16,300 children 5 years old and younger were treated in emergency rooms because of injuries associated with TV, furniture, and appliance tip-overs, and between 2000 and 2006, CPSC staff received reports of 134 tip-over related deaths. Additionally, CPSC staff is aware of at least 30 media reports of tip-over deaths since January 2007 involving this same age group.

“Many parents are unaware of the deadly danger of this hidden hazard. I urge parents to include securing TVs, furniture, and appliances in their childproofing efforts,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Taking a few moments now can prevent a tip-over tragedy later.”

“You may think your home is safe, but everyday things like a television can hurt your child. I was right there and it happened,” said Sylvia Santiago, of West Haven, Connecticut who lost her two-year old daughter in 2008.

Typically, injuries and deaths occur when children climb onto, fall against, or pull themselves up on television stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, desks, chests, and appliances. In some cases, televisions placed on top of furniture tip over and cause a child to suffer traumatic and sometimes fatal injuries.

“The most devastating injuries that we see resulting from furniture tipping on children are injuries to the brain and when a child is trapped under a heavy piece of furniture and suffocates,” said Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Recent revisions to the voluntary safety standards for clothes storage units provide for the inclusion of warning labels and additional hardware to secure the furniture to the floor or wall. To help prevent tip-over hazards, CPSC offers the following safety tips:

• Furniture should be stable on its own. For added security, anchor chests or dressers, TV stands, bookcases and entertainment units to the floor or attach them to a wall.
• Place TVs on a sturdy, low-rise base. Avoid flimsy shelves.
• Push the TV as far back as possible.
• Place electrical cords out of a child’s reach, and teach kids not to play with them.
• Keep remote controls and other attractive items off the TV stand so kids won’t be tempted to grab for them and risk knocking the TV over.
• Make sure free-standing ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.

The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital works globally to reduce injury-related pediatric death and disabilities. With innovative research as its core, CIRP works to continually improve the scientific understanding of the epidemiology, biomechanics, prevention, acute treatment and rehabilitation of injuries. CIRP serves as a pioneer by translating cutting edge injury research into education, policy and advances in clinical care. Learn more about CIRP.

Note to Editor: Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, is available for comment/interviews. To contact Dr. Smith, please call Nationwide Children’s Hospital media relations at (614) 355-0495.

See video (www.cpsc.gov/vnr/asfroot/TipOver.asx) on CPSC’s Web site and on YouTube for more information. To download CPSC's new safety alert visit link (http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/5004.pdf).


CPSC Media Contact:
(301) 504-7908

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report ‘s 2018-19 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.4 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at NationwideChildrens.org.