CPSC Urges Parents to Inspect and Secure TVs, Furniture, and Appliances in Child-Proofing Efforts

Between 2000 and 2008, CPSC staff received reports of nearly 200 tipover related deaths involving children eight years old and younger.
September 23, 2010
Release Number: 10-351

On average, one child dies every two weeks due to tipovers

WASHINGTON, DC - Many parents and caregivers may not be aware that one of the top hidden hazards in the homes where young children live or visit is unsecured and unstable TVs, furniture and appliances. Today, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging families to take a moment to inspect and secure these items to prevent any more tragedies.

Between 2000 and 2008, CPSC staff received reports of nearly 200 tipover related deaths involving children eight years old and younger. Nearly all of these fatalities (93%) involved children five years old and younger.

More than 16,000 children five years old and younger were treated in emergency rooms because of injuries associated with TVs, furniture, and appliance tipovers according to CPSC staff’s most recent estimates from 2006.

“Large TVs and unstable furniture can be a deadly combination. Taking simple, low-cost steps to secure furniture and TVs can save lives,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “Parents need to know about this hidden danger and take action now.”

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 will tip over and cause a child to suffer traumatic and sometimes fatal injuries.

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

- Furniture should be stable on its own. For added security, anchor chests, 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 on its stand 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.

This year, the CPSC is intensifying its outreach efforts by partnering with numerous organizations, including clinics and second-hand stores, to disseminate a two minute PSA (transcript) including a powerful testimonial of a parent who lost her two-year-old in a TV tipover incident and a poster (pdf). In addition, consumers will be able to stream a 20 second version (transcript) of the PSA through October 23, 2010 by texting TVFALL to 878787.

Consumers can also download CPSC's updated safety alert (pdf).