WASHINGTON, D.C. - In March of this year, an 11 month old died while watching TV with his dad and his 2-year-old sibling. The baby's brother bumped into the furniture holding the TV and the TV fell onto the baby's head and abdomen. Unfortunately, this is not a rare incident. Furniture and TV tip-over incidents are one of the top hidden hazards in the home. Today, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging parents and caregivers to inspect and anchor furniture and TVs now, in order to protect young children from a preventable tragedy.
A new data report (pdf) shows that between 2000 and 2010, CPSC staff received reports of 245 tip-over-related deaths involving children 8 years old and younger. More than 90 percent of the incidents involved children 5 years old and younger. In more than half of the 245 fatalities (56%), the child was crushed by the weight of the television, furniture, or appliance. The majority of these children suffered fatal injuries to the head (67%).
In addition, more than 22,000 children 8 years old and younger are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year (2008-2010) for injuries related to instability or tipover of televisions, furniture, and appliances. And like the fatalities, a majority of these injuries (56%) are to the head.
"Children like to climb on furniture. Placing TVs on furniture not intended for them or having furniture that is not secured can have tragic consequences," said Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "These tragedies can be prevented by taking low-cost steps. Anchor those TVs and dressers, and protect your child or a child visiting your home."
The most common tip-over scenarios involve toddlers who have climbed onto, fallen against or pulled themselves up on furniture. About 70 percent of children's fatalities (169 incidents) involved falling televisions, and 27 percent (65 incidents) involved only furniture falling. Of the 135 child fatalities where furniture fell by itself or fell with a TV, the majority of incidents (64%) involved a chest, dresser, or a bureau. Often, these pieces of furniture have drawers that children can use to climb.
To prevent tragedies follow these safety tips in any home where children live or visit:
- Anchor furniture to the wall or the floor.
- Place TVs on sturdy, low bases.
- Or, anchor the furniture and the TV on top of it, and push the TV as far back on the furniture as possible.
- Keep remote controls, toys, and other items that might attract children off TV stands or furniture.
- Keep TV and/or cable cords out of reach of children.
- Make sure freestanding kitchen ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.
- Supervise children in rooms where these safety tips have not been followed.
To download a 2-minute PSA in broadcast quality, including a demonstration of simulated tip-over incidents, visit https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1241071902/9180c88037a4e88c0a018ad49d916b83 (English) or https://rcpt.yousendit.com/1241073302/7d9984e13fe841f09bf2f620d5268257 (Spanish). Consumers can watch this PSA at http://youtu.be/g6oHH9GTzsg (English) or http://youtu.be/u9vpBuDBgBI (Spanish) or download a poster (pdf).