Data Shows Unstable TVs, Furniture and Appliances Pose Deadly Danger to Children

September 30, 2008
Release Number: 08-416

Found in various rooms of the home, large furniture such as TVs, chests, armoires, and appliances are staples in our homes. But these items can tip over and crush children, causing injury or death. Last year, CPSC identified this issue as one of the “top five hidden home hazards.” A new data report (pdf) from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff shows at least 180 tip-over related deaths between 2000 and 2006, 80 percent involving children younger than 10. The report also indicates that between 2005 and 2006 there were at least 40 reports of television or television and furniture related tip-over deaths.

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

“Tip-over related deaths continue to be a problem. These tragedies can be prevented by taking precautions,” said Acting Chairman Nancy Nord.

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

- Verify that furniture is stable on its own. For added security, anchor all entertainment units, TV stands, bookcases, shelving and bureaus to the wall or floor 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 from the top of the TV and furniture that might tempt kids to climb, such as toys and remote controls.