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Furniture Accidents – A Hidden Home Hazard

For many toddlers and young children, home is a place of discovery.

The adventure of learning to stand, walk, and reach that shiny object way on the top shelf can prove irresistible. But these adventures can be dangerous and even downright deadly if the proper precautions are not taken.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that between 2000 and 2010 there were at least 245 deaths related to tip-overs of furniture, televisions or appliances among children ages 8 years and under. Most of these deaths, 90 percent of them, involved children younger than age 6. In 2011, the CPSC identified this issue as one of the top hidden home hazards.

Kids can be seriously injured or killed as a result of climbing onto, falling against or pulling themselves up on shelves, bookcases, dressers, TV tables, and other furniture.

Here are some tips for keeping your home safe:

  • Fasten top-heavy or unstable furniture to a wall using brackets, screws or wall straps.
  • Keep heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers.
  • Don’t keep remote controls, candy or other tempting items on unstable stands or tables.
  • Teach children not to climb or jump on furniture.
  • Push the television as far back as possible from the front of its stand.

Kids are also in danger of suffocation if they become accidentally trapped in a cabinet, toy chest or laundry machine. In 2007 alone, there were 3,270 injuries to children ages 2 to 14 involving toy chests. Always supervise children around any confined space and keep the doors closed and locked.

Toy chests that meet voluntary standards set by the CPSC are equipped with lid supports that hold the lid open in any position. The standards also call for ventilation holes to prevent suffocation. If you have a toy chest with a lid that doesn’t stay open, the CPSC recommends you remove the lid or install a spring-loaded lid support.

Safe Kids Wake County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Wake County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Wake County was founded in 1996 and is led by WakeMed Health & Hospitals.

For more information about home safety, call 919-350-8364 or visit

Siobhan Davis is the WakeMed Injury Prevention Representative and Safe Kids Wake County Coordinator.