Furniture, TV and appliance Tip-overs are an ongoing issue. The CPSC reports that from the years 2009 – 2011 over 25,000 children under the age of 18 were treated in emergency rooms for injuries suffered from falling furniture, TVs and appliances. From 2000 – 2011 there were 294 fatalities for children 1 – 8 years of age from falling furniture, TVs and appliances. That is 294 too many fatalities. On this page we will focus on furniture tip-overs.

A 2009 study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that from 1990-2007 an average of nearly 15,000 children younger than 18 years of age visited emergency departments annually for injuries received from furniture tip-overs. More than one quarter of the injuries occurred when children pulled over or climbed on furniture. 

The main reason furniture tip-overs happen is because heavy furniture is not secured to a stud in the wall. If you properly secure your heavy furniture to a stud in your wall the furniture will not tip over. It will be one less major home hazard for you to worry about. One less way your child can get injured…or worse. A secondary reason is giving small children an excuse by leaving toys or brightly colored objects on the top of the furniture. Removing items from the top of a piece of furniture is a good idea but it is not a substitute for securing your heavy furniture to a stud in the wall.

Over the years we’ve seen many different types of furniture anti-tip kits and we firmly believe that the best type of anti-tip kit is one constructed from steel, including steel fasteners. Not plastic or some flimsy fabric strap. Hangman Products Furniture Anti-tip kit is best in class. One end gets secured with steel fasteners into a stud on the wall. The other end gets secured with steel fasteners into a thick, solid wood part of the furniture piece, preferably the underside of the top of the piece. Are top of the line anti-tip kits a little unsightly? Yes. You might possibly see the all steel aircraft cable running from the furniture piece to the wall. You could also see a fastener in your freshly painted wall. Deal with it. The alternative might be a panic driven call to 9-1-1.

Teaching home safety to your children is always a good thing but remember, small children are exploratory, spontaneous, even impulsive. Work under the assumption that your 3 or 4 year old may decide one moment to climb up an armoire. Don’t look for a rational reason because there probably won’t be one. Again, if your furniture is properly secured to a stud in the wall you will once again attempt to explain to your very active little person why climbing up the armoire/ dresser/ wardrobe / etc is not a very good idea. If your furniture is not properly secured then you might be too busy calling 9-1-1 to have a conversation.

When you talk about prevention work under the assumption that prevention is always the parents’ responsibility. We also feel that players in the furniture business could help. Actually, we still find it astonishing that with few exceptions furniture manufacturers and retailers refuse to even consider supplying anti-tip kits with large pieces of furniture. It actually gets worse.

In 2009 the furniture industry adopted a labeling standard that urges manufacturers to provide, at the time of sale, tip over warnings as well as anchoring hardware for “clothes storage” items that are 30 inches or higher and have drawers. Under the standard, the furniture has to pass tests that showed it remained steady both when all drawers are open and when a 50-pound weight is placed in one of them, the approximate weight of a young child scaling the furniture.

Unfortunately there is no enforcement mechanism or monitoring of compliance. Manufacturers following the standard are supposed to place a warning label in a conspicuous location in the top drawer of the covered furniture. Most consumers would not necessarily have awareness of the tip-over hazard when entering a store but would see the warnings when they opened the top drawer. Even though manufacturers claim they take it seriously there are still multiple episodes of non-compliance.

When you shop for heavy pieces of furniture pull out the top drawer and check for that label. If you don’t see it perhaps you should look at another piece of furniture. We also urge you to ask your furniture retailer why they don’t provide furniture anti-tip kits for large pieces of furniture. And don’t be afraid to ask your favorite furniture manufacturer the same question. In any case, after you have purchased that large piece of furniture order some anti-tip kits and install them properly.

Take a moment and download our furniture safety FAQs, provided by our companion site, Children’s Safety blog.

The CPSC created an outstanding infographic for Furniture Tipovers. Please click the “Infographic” tab at the top of the page. After you look at the infographic please return to the top of the page and click the “CPSC TV Tip-overs Video” tab to watch the outstanding video produced by CPSC on TV and Furniture Tip-overs.

The following Infographic was created by the CPSC.

furniture-tip-over-infogoraphic1

Please return to the top of the page and click the “CPSC Furniture Tip-overs Video” tab to watch CPSC’s outstanding video on Furniture Tip-overs.

This CPSC video actually covers TV tip-overs as well as furniture tip-overs but it is well worth watching for all 8 minutes and 45 seconds.