How To Identify and Prevent Tip Overs
They may not make the news very often, but tip-over injuries and deaths are fairly common. In fact, a November 2012 report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) states that from 2009 to 2011, an estimated average of 43,200 people were treated in hospital emergency departments each year for tip-over injuries relating to furniture, televisions, or appliances. Of these incidents, 25,400 or 59% involved children under 18. Needless to say, this type of accident is something that any parent should be aware of, and it makes sense to want to learn a bit more about how and why something like this might occur.
Facts about Tip-Over Deaths
Some important figures relating to tip-over incidents as per the CPSC report referenced above include:
- From 2000 to 2011, there were 349 fatalities relating to product instability and tip-over incidents. Of these, 294 or 84% involved children ranging in age from one month to eight years old.
- 69% of estimated emergency department-treated injuries and 77% of fatalities were sustained in residential settings.
- The most common injuries sustained due to a tip-over incident were: contusions or abrasions (39%), injuries to internal organs (15%), lacerations (14%), and fractures (13%). • The most common pieces of furniture involved in product instability or tip-over injuries for kids under 18 were: tables (34%); chests, bureaus, and dressers (28%); and shelving, shelving units, and bookcases (19%).
- 70% of children fatalities involved televisions or televisions and furniture tipping over together. 26% involved just furniture, and the remaining 4% involved appliances.
How to Avoid Tip-Over Accidents
Although it’s impossible for even the most vigilant parent to prevent every accident, there are a number of steps you can take to make your home a safer place and protect against tip-over incidents. Here are a few to get you started:
- Anchor all appliances with L-brackets – Freestanding appliances like fridges and ovens can tip over if a child hangs on the door, but a small and inexpensive metal bracket can help prevent this by anchoring it down. These brackets sometimes come with the appliance, but if not, you can usually get one at any home improvement store.
- Secure heavy furniture – Similarly to appliances, bulky and heavy pieces of furniture can fall over onto children, bringing everything on and in that furniture down with it. Many furniture manufacturers and resellers offer inexpensive anchors which can be connected to the furniture and anchored into the wall to prevent the piece from tipping over if it should be pulled upon. Someone at your local furniture or home improvement store should be able to show you how to install it.
- Invest in a baby gate – If your children are still young enough for it to be effective, a baby gate can be invaluable in keeping kids away from dangerous areas like bedrooms and living rooms with heavy furniture. Choose a gate that installs with hardware rather than tension rods; it may be less portable, but it’s also more secure.
- Always supervise – This should go without saying, but always watch your children when they’re in an area that contains the potential for a tip-over accident. Even if your own home has been fully baby-proofed, you’re bound to visit a friend or family member who may not have tied in their furniture or taken the same precautions, and you’ll want to make sure your kids don’t put themselves in any potentially
- Teach children safe habits – Your watchful eyes won’t always be around to make sure your children are playing safely, so it’s
important to teach them not to climb or pull on dangerous items around the home.
These are just a few suggestions for helping your child avoid injury or worse due to falling furniture or appliances. When it comes down to it, the best weapon against such tragedy is often simple knowledge – the more aware you are of potential hazards, the easier it will be for you to take steps to mitigate risk, and in the end, that’s the best any parent can really do. For more info go to MyPreciousKid.com http://www.mypreciouskid.com
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