Furniture, appliance and television safety
Children love to climb, but climbing on bookshelves, dressers, appliances and televisions (TVs) can be very dangerous. Furniture, appliances and TVs can easily tip-over, causing serious injuries and even death. Fortunately there are simple things every parent can do to reduce the risk of injury from tip-overs.
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It is common for children to reach, climb, and pull themselves up. They will try this with furniture, bookshelves, dressers, TVs and appliances, such as stoves. It is important to teach them that this is not safe.
There are also simple things you can do to reduce the risk of furniture, appliances and TVs from tipping over.
- Always supervise children in the home and teach them not to climb or hang from furniture or appliances.
- Choose storage furniture (bookcases, cabinets, TV stands and dressers) with wide and stable bases that sit directly on the floor. Furniture pieces with legs or wheels are more likely to tip-over.
- Securely attach furniture to the wall using angle braces, anchors or safety straps. If these items come with the furniture, follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing them. If you have an older piece of furniture, visit your local hardware store to purchase restraints or anchors. Secure them to a wall stud if you can.
- Check the labels on your furniture, TVs and appliances. Find out about safety features by visiting the manufacturer's website or talking to your retailer.
- Do not try to assemble furniture yourself if you do not have the instructions or do not know how to follow them. Do not use furniture or appliances that have not been properly assembled.
- Always use furniture for its intended purpose.
- Keep electrical cords behind furniture where children cannot reach them.
- Regularly check that furniture, TVs and appliances are stable and secure.
Older-style, front heavy TVs are especially dangerous if they tip-over. All styles of TVs are very attractive to children. Follow these tips for keeping your TV upright.
- Put TVs on low, stable furniture that is made for their weight and size. Attach your TV to the stand if possible.
- Do not put heavy items and items that are attractive to children, such as toys, plants and remotes, on top of TVs.
At least 60% of all furniture tip-overs with injuries reported to Health Canada involve desks, dressers, chests, buffets and TVs.
Safety and dressers
Children may climb dressers by using open drawers as steps. Open drawers make a dresser unstable, increasing the chance that it will tip-over.
For your children's safety:
- Teach your children not to climb on dressers.
- Open only one drawer at a time. Close all drawers that you are not using.
- Install locking devices on drawers and securely attach furniture to the wall using angle braces, anchors or safety straps.
- Place heavier items—like books—in lower drawers to reduce the risk of tip-overs.
- Do not put TVs on dressers. Dressers are not designed to support large items.
- When buying a dresser, look for one that meets the requirements of the current American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) F2057, Standard Safety Specification for Chests, Door Chests, and Dressers.
Regularly check the Healthy Canadians website for recalls and safety alerts for furniture, appliances or TVs that have been recalled because of tip-overs.
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