CPSC Warns about TV, Large Furniture Tip-Over DangersMore than 100 Deaths Reported Since 2000, Most Involve Young Children

September 12, 2006
Release Number: 06-254

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning parents and caregivers about the dangers of televisions and heavy furniture tipping over and killing young children. The number of TV tip-over deaths reported to CPSC during the first seven months of 2006 is twice the typical yearly average.

"There are usually five deaths reported to CPSC each year caused by televisions tipping over onto young children, but we are aware of 10 deaths already in 2006," said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. "We are issuing this warning so parents will take the necessary steps to prevent any more of these tragedies."

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

From 2000 through 2005, CPSC has reports of 36 TV tip-over-related deaths and 65 furniture tip-over deaths. More than 80 percent of all these deaths involved young children. Additionally, 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.

Industry standards require that TV stands, chests, bureaus and dressers pass a stability test. If a piece of furniture violates these standards, the product can be subject to a safety recall.

To help prevent tip-over hazards, CPSC offers the following safety tips:

- Verify that furniture is stable on its own. For added security, anchor to the floor or attach to the wall all entertainment units, TV stands, bookcases, shelving and bureaus to the wall using appropriate hardware, such as brackets, screws, or toggles.

- Place televisions on sturdy furniture appropriate for the size of the TV or on a low-rise base.

- Push the TV as far back as possible from the front of its stand.

- Place electrical cords out of a child's reach, and teach children not to play with the cords.

- Remove items that might tempt kids to climb, such as toys and remote controls, from the top of the TV and furniture.

Download CPSC's new safety alert "Preventing TV and Furniture Tip-Over Deaths."