Beware of Falling Furniture

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 11:11 am

Be honest. Most of us do not consider the furniture in our homes or even the television to be dangerous to our children. The kids run and play and laugh and occasionally knock over a chair or bump into a desk or fall off the furniture but that seems to be the extent of our worry when it comes to furniture. Well according to a new study furniture related injuries are on the rise and if your kids are anything like mine, we have some work to do.

According to the study conducted by the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission, most furniture tip-over-related injuries occurred among children younger than 7 years of age and resulted from televisions tipping over. More than one quarter of the injuries occurred when children pulled over or climbed on furniture. Children ages 10-17 years were more likely to suffer injuries from desks, cabinets or bookshelves tipping over. Head and neck injuries were most common among younger children, while children older than 9 years were more likely to suffer injuries to the lower body.

Despite warnings from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the number of injuries involving televisions and other furniture tipping over onto children has increased in this country since the early 1990s.

“There was a more than 40 percent increase in the number of injuries during the study period, and the injury rate also significantly increased during these years,” said study senior author Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “This trend demonstrates the inadequacy of current prevention strategies and underscores the need for increased prevention efforts.”

So what can we as parents do? Parents can minimize risks to children by placing televisions low to the ground and near the back of their stands and strapping televisions and furniture to the wall with safety straps or L-brackets. Purchasing furniture with wide legs or with solid bases, installing drawer stops on chests of drawers and placing heavy items close to the floor on shelves will also help prevent tip-overs. Additionally, parents can reduce a child’s desire to climb furniture by not placing attractive items, such as toys or the remote control, high on top of furniture or the television.

Caregivers and even those of us in the emergency medicine field should be aware that furniture tip-overs are an important source of childhood injury and that education geared towards simple prevention steps will decrease the number of injuries to children associated with furniture tip-overs.”

About the Author

Greg Atwood is a Firefighter /Paramedic in Coral Gables Florida and works for the Coral Gables Fire Rescue. He is an American Heart Association certified instructor in BLS ( Basic Life Support ), ACLS ( Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support ), and PALS ( Pediatric Advanced Life Support ). Greg currently lives in Miami Florida with his beautiful wife Alexa and their 2 sons, Connor and Jake. Greg is a former member of the PedSafe Expert team

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