Keep kids safe from falling furniture with these tips

Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Elliot Kaye watches a demonstration of how an Ikea dresser can tip and fall on a child during a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington in 2016. IKEA recalled 29 million chests and dressers after six children were killed when the furniture toppled over and fell on them. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Dr. Lois Lee, an executive committee member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention and a member of the AAP Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine, offers these statistics in the academy’s Voices section:

  • “Every 30 minutes a child in the U.S. is injured from a TV or furniture tip-over, resulting in an average of 33,000 emergency department visits every year.”
  • “A child dies from injuries secondary to furniture tip-over roughly every two weeks.”
    Kids are curious creatures who love to climb things, lots of things. While you’d like them to be climbing on Austin’s best playground playscapes, you know they see dressers and bookshelves as jungle gyms.

Lee offers parents this advice of things they can do to prevent it:

  • Secure dressers to the wall with furniture straps and TVs to dressers. These typically cost just a few dollars are take just a few minutes to install. 
  • Don’t place large, heavy objects such as televisions on the top of a dresser.
  • Install stops on dresser drawers to prevent them from being pulled out by the child so they can climb on them.  Multiple open drawers also shift the weight of the dresser to the front, making it more prone to falling forward.
  • Keep heavier items on the lower drawers or shelves.
  • Avoid placing toys, remote controls, or other items in places where kids may want to climb up to reach them.
  • Mount flat screen TVs to the wall to decrease the chance it may fall off.
  • If you have a heavier cathode ray tube TV, don’t place it on a dresser.  Instead put it on a low, stable piece of furniture that can securely support the TV.
  • Recycle old cathode ray tube TVs if you aren’t using them.