According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child dies every two weeks from a furniture tip-over accident. Children under age five are most at risk, and accidents most often happen in the bedroom of the home. Childproofing steps can save lives. Use this checklist to protect young children in your home from injury.
Televisions, dressers/chests of drawers, bookshelves, appliances, and certain tables all represent tip-over hazards. Look for furniture strap kits if the piece of furniture does not include one, and always anchor furniture and appliances into a stud in the wall. Test all anchors for strength and support.
Close large household appliances including ovens, dishwashers, and washers/dryers when not in use, and use guards, knob covers, and door/drawer latches to prevent young hands from pulling an appliance open or over to climb.
Remove attractive objects from tip-over-prone furniture.
Avoid leaving remote controls, toys, brightly colored decorations and other eye-catching objects in areas prone to climbing. Instead, place items in a drawer or on a low surface a child can easily reach.
Follow furniture-maker instructions.
Read and pay close attention to all safety warnings on furniture prior to installation in the home. Look for furniture that complies with all relevant anti-tip-over and air quality control standards/guidelines.
Secure exercise equipment.
Many homeowners today invest in at-home gym equipment including weight sets, treadmills, and stationary bicycles. In homes with children, keep all gym equipment secure in a separate and locked room to prevent falls and other equipment-related accidents.
Notify others of the risks.
You may child proof your home from the risks of un-anchored furniture, but that does not mean others will take the same measures. Inform other parents and childless friends/family members of the dangers and ask anyone who watches your child to properly secure their own furniture or to closely supervise your child for the duration of the stay.
Put away portable electrical appliances.
In the kitchen, bathroom, and other areas of the home, small appliances may tempt children to climb and access the appliance. In addition to falls, these items represent an electrocution hazard if plugged into the wall. Keep all handheld appliances safely out of a child’s reach.
In addition to furniture safety precautions, parents can start working on setting boundaries with children as young as one. Use positive reinforcement to encourage safe behaviors into the toddler years. A child who understands boundaries may not feel as tempted to climb on furniture at home or elsewhere. For personalized safety and health recommendations for your young child, schedule an appointment with Green Hills Pediatric Associates at (615) 385-1451.