Prevent TV Tip-Overs and Furniture Falls

Tip-overs and furniture falls happen when children pull furniture onto themselves climb on furniture causing it to fall, or push it over onto another child. Young children are not strong enough to lift the furniture off of themselves if they are trapped. Injuries include serious bruising, internal organ injuries and fractures. And from 2000 through 2010, the Consumer Product Safety Commission received reports of close to 300 deaths, mostly involving children who were crushed.

TV Tip-overs cause the most injuries for children younger than 10 years. More than 40 children younger than 18 years of age visit the emergency department for injuries from furniture tip-overs each day.

Take a moment to inspect the arrangement of furniture and televisions in your home and invest in low-cost tools and techniques to keep your children safe.

With the holidays approaching, kids may be in environments that are new to them. Be sure dressers and TVs are secure at grandparents' or relatives homes you may be visiting. If this is not possible, be sure not to leave them unattended in rooms that have at risk furniture. 

Location, Location

If using a television stand, place the TV on a low, wide base and push it as far back as possible.

Do not use a dresser as a TV stand because open drawers can cause the dresser to tip forward.

Make Proper Arrangements

Place heavy items on the lower shelves of bookcases and entertainment centers. Put children’s books only within reach of children to prevent climbing on bookshelves to reach books.

Keep electrical cords tucked out of reach of children so they do not use them to pull heavy items down on themselves.

Do not place items of interest, including remote controls, high on shelves or on the top of the TV because young children may climb on top of furniture to reach them.

Get Equipped

Mounts, brackets, braces, anchors or wall straps can be found in the safety section of most major home improvement stores and some national toy store chains. Some models do not even require drilling holes in furniture.

Strap all TVs to a stable stand. If at all possible, mount flat-screen TVs to the wall, out of reach of children.

  • Strap all dressers and bookshelves to the wall, no matter what size they are. Do not overlook smaller-sized pieces of furniture, as they could do great harm to a child’s small body.

  • Purchase and install drawer stops that prevent dresser drawers from being fully extended, which can cause the chest to tip forward.

By Eileen Jekot, MD, pediatrician, ThedaCare Physicians-Pediatrics, Neenah