Mighty Blog

Furniture tip-overs: What parents can do to prevent injuries in the home

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission’s organization Anchor It, a child in the United States is injured every 43 minutes from a television or furniture tip-over incident. But these injuries are often preventable if parents take precautions to properly secure furniture and televisions.

What are furniture tip-overs?

Furniture tip-overs can happen any time an unsecured piece of large or heavy furniture becomes unbalanced. Because young kids are constantly looking for new places to explore, they sometimes attempt to climb dressers or bookshelves, or reach for things in high places, which may destabilize the object and cause it to tip.

“Families take many precautions to keep their kids safe, but we don’t often think our furniture can be a hazard. Furniture as small as a night stand and tall as a bookshelf have been known to tip over if not properly anchored to a wall stud,” said Dex Tuttle, injury prevention program manager at Children’s Minnesota. “It’s admittedly hard to believe a small child could tip over a heavy piece of furniture, but the danger is less in the child’s strength and more in the weight and momentum of the child and center of gravity of the object.”

Tips to prevent furniture tip-overs

Use anti-tip devices

New furniture is often sold with anti-tip brackets. Be sure to install them right away and follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely to ensure furniture is properly secured.  Often, these devices need to be screwed into a wall stud and won’t be effective if they’re attached with drywall anchors.

If you already have top-heavy furniture in your home, you can purchase anti-tip devices to prevent any incidents. These devices are pretty easy to find and purchase online as well as in stores, and generally only cost about $5 to $25.

Mount or secure televisions

Mounting flat-screen televisions to the wall or to furniture can prevent them from falling over. CRT televisions, “tube TV’s,” should be placed on low, stable television stands and should be anchored to the wall.  You can find straps that can help secure these large, heavy TVs to furniture, but be aware that they can still cause the furniture to tip if bumped or moved to create momentum.

Remove tempting items

Remove objects like toys or remote controls from high shelves and tall furniture. This will make it less tempting for kids to climb to get to the objects that they want.

Secure all rooms in the house

Nearly half of all tip-over incidents happen in the bedroom; however, do not to forget about other rooms kids may wander into unsupervised. It may be helpful to lock the doors to rooms where furniture has not yet been anchored or where children should not be playing, but it’s best to secure the furniture in all rooms of your home.

Emergency and trauma care at Children’s Minnesota

Between our two emergency departments in St. Paul and Minneapolis, we care for more than 90,000 patients each year, meaning that we care for more pediatric emergency and trauma patients than any other health care system in the area. We are also home to the region’s only Level I pediatric trauma center in a hospital dedicated only to kids.

While we would rather see kids safe and at home, our robust team of experts in trauma and emergency care is always there to help your child, no matter what happens.

Kaitlyn Kamleiter