February 8, 2013 – Every year hundreds of children suffer from furniture tipping accidents, which can cause serious head and internal injuries, suffocation, and even death. While more than 70% of the reported television tip-over accidents occurred to children between the ages of one and three, Health Canada is also concerned about other pieces of furniture falling onto children, such as dressers and bookcases.
In the United States, furniture tip-over injuries have recently increased dramatically making it a very large and extremely important child safety issue. A study at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio found a 41% increase in furniture tip-over injuries from 1990 to 2007. A 2012 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data report showed that 2011 had 41 fatalities - the highest number of fatalities reported in a year. CPSC estimates about 43,000 consumers including adults and children are injured every year and about 59% of these injuries occur to children under the age of 18.
Health Canada recommends buying only clothing storage furniture that meets the latest ASTM F2057 International Standard Safety Specification for chests, door chests and dressers. Consumer should check the label, visit the manufacturer's website, or ask the retailer if the furniture selected meets this standard.
If you have older pieces of furniture we recommend you visit your local hardware store to obtain restraints or anchors, which attach to a wall, framing or other support to help prevent tip-over entrapment hazards to young children. We also recommend that you contact the furniture manufacturer or company to inquire if retrofit kits are available.
As flat screen televisions are introduced into the household, older and often heavier television sets are moved into bedrooms or other areas of the home and often placed upon inappropriate furniture that cannot handle the weight or size. A large number of fatalities and accidents happened in bedrooms, followed by living rooms and family rooms.
- Always supervise your children and discourage them from climbing or hanging from furniture.
- Choose furniture, such as bookcases, cabinets, television stands and dressers, with a wide and stable base that sits directly on the floor. Models with legs or wheels are more likely to tip-over.
- Attach furniture to the wall or dry wall stud using the appropriate angle braces, anchors or safety straps. If these items come with the furniture, install according to manufacturer's instructions.
- When buying a dresser make sure it meets the requirements of the current ASTM International Standard (F2057). Before you make a purchase check the label, visit the manufacturer's website or ask the retailer if the dresser you have selected meets the required standard.
- Place television sets towards the back of low, stable furniture that is appropriate for the weight and size of the television and if possible, fasten the television to the stand.
- Do not place items such as toys, plants and remote controls (that could appeal or attract a child) on top of a television or tall furniture.
- Do not place heavy items on top of elevated surfaces. Place heavier items in the lower drawers of furniture.
- Make a point of regularly checking furniture, televisions and appliances to make sure they are stable and secure and that electrical cords are out of your children's reach.
- If your furniture has drawers, only open one drawer at a time to reduce the chance of tipping over. Pulled-out drawers can shift the weight of a large dresser and cause it to fall over. Close all drawers of furniture when not in use so your child will be deterred from climbing or stepping onto the furniture.
Health Canada would like to remind Canadians to report any health or safety incidents related to the use of a consumer product or cosmetic. An easy-to-use incident report form is now available on the Department’s website.
Mail: Incident Report – Consumer Product Safety Directorate
269 Laurier Street W
Ottawa, ON Canada, K1A 0K9
Address Locator: 4907E
Public enquiries:(613) 957-2991 or 1-866 225-0709
We Want Your Opinion!
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