Keep kids safe by anchoring furniture and televisions

July 22nd, 2013 | by Amelia Hadley | Comments

art-kids-televisionDo you ever look back on scenes in your life and think, “Well, that was ridiculous”? I do that all the time. My family is big, the kids have a lot of energy, shenanigans are unavoidable.

When my oldest daughter was a little more than 18 months-old, she fell at the playground and broke her arm.

She picked a hot pink cast.

That’s the cast she was wearing– the one she repeatedly dipped in the toilet bowl, but the doctor insisted it wouldn’t fall apart– when she took her first ambulance ride. Yes, I said first.

We had one piece of furniture in the entire house that wasn’t secured to the wall. It was a dresser that we kept in her closet. I was in the kitchen when I heard a loud crash and instinctively knew it was a “CALL 911!!” moment.

She had pulled out every drawer and the dresser had fallen forward from the weight. It completely broke apart on top of her. When I got to the room, she was sitting in the middle of a pile of dresser pieces, banging on them like drums and laughing.

The paramedics showed up and gave me “the look”– deservedly so– for failing to secure the dresser to the wall. While I stayed with her inside, one of the medics went to our van and got her car seat since she’d need it to be transported (did I mention she was wearing only a diaper?).

On his way back into the house he said, loudly, “I shook all the french fries out of the car seat.”

Boom! Mother of the Year Award!

So off we went to the ER with my daughter in her car seat, wearing a diaper and sporting a cast and a juice mustache. Her head was taped to the car seat until the doctor at the hospital was able to assess her neck.

I was so embarrassed and really ashamed that we’d failed to bracket the dresser to the wall– in earthquake territory, none the less!– and that she’d gotten hurt.

She was fine. She laughed the whole time and thought it was a fantastic adventure.

After that, we made sure every piece of furniture would stay upright if the kids climbed on it, if there was an earthquake or if something random occurred.

Furniture has always been an issue when it comes to kids’ safety, but a growing number of children are now being injured by flat screen televisions.

According to a recent article written by Lisa Flam for Today Health, “the number of kids injured by a TV falling on them grew 125 percent between 1990 and 2011.” Flam referenced a study in the journal Pediatrics, that says “more than 17,000 children under age 18 were treated each year for various TV-related injuries in ERs across the United States – that’s one child every half hour” between 1990 and 2011.

“Between 2000 and 2011, 215 children died from injuries caused by a falling TV,” Flam wrote.

Larger, flat screen TV’s are found to be easier for kids to tip, the study found. Also, there’s a tendency to mount them on furniture not designed to hold a television.

Dr. Gary Smith, author of the study and a pediatrician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, recommends all televisions be anchored to the wall to prevent tip-overs and all furniture used as TV stands also be anchored.

Dr. Ryan Stanton, physician at MESA Medical Group in Lexington, Ky., spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians and a father of two young children, said a lot of people don’t think a television in their home will tip over on a child.

“’Everybody knows that after kids get to be 2 ½ years old, there’s nothing too high,’” he said in Flam’s article. “’You have to look at it from the point of a child. Just grab it and pull, if it starts to tip over and is unstable, your kid’s going to do that, too.’”


By the numbers: Stats from 1990-2011

46 percent of tip-overs involved a TV falling off a dresser or armoire.

31 percent of tip-overs involved TV’s falling from an entertainment center or TV stand.

12,300: number of children under 18 injured in a tip-over in 2011.

61 percent of injuries were to boys.

64 percent of the injuries were sustained by children under 5.




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