Quick Tips to Maximize Furniture Safety


General Guidelines

Furniture surfaces should be smooth and free of splinters or rough edges. Nails, screws and other joiners should be tight and unexposed. Be wary of older pieces of furniture that may contain lead paint.

Bunk Beds

Bunk beds are not recommended for children under six years of age. The top bunk should have guardrails on each side, with no more than 15 inches open at each end. Rails should be secure and sturdy, and they should extend at least 5 inches above the top surface of the mattress. The mattress should be the proper size, as stated by the manufacturer. Always use a sturdy ladder to access the top bunk, and only one person should be on the top bunk at a time.

New Upholstery

Buy new upholstery that displays the gold UFAC tag. This tag ensures that the manufacturer of the furniture has met the construction criteria outlined by the Upholstered Furniture Action Council.


Crib slats or spindles should be spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, and none should be loose or missing. Check to make sure all screws, brackets and other hardware on the crib are properly installed and intact. The mattress should fit snugly, with no more than two-fingers width between the edge of the mattress and the crib. Dressers and Chests of


Drawers should slide in and out easily. When purchasing children's furniture, check for automatic drawer stops that prevent the drawer from falling out on unsuspecting children. Open only one drawer at a time. And never allow children to stand in open drawers because of the danger of the piece tipping over.


Be careful not to overload the shelves. In some cases, it may be a good idea to secure the top portion of the unit to the wall to prevent it from tipping over, especially if children are present in the home. In some pieces, especially in youth groups, a shelf unit attaches to a desk or chest. Always be sure those units are attached properly and securely.

Entertainment Centers and TV Stands

It's important to use the correct size furniture to house your television. Because of their weight, especially the popular larger models, TVs can fall forward if they are not properly supported. Furniture manufacturers offer a wealth of entertainment centers designed to accommodate today's electronics, so there's sure to be a piece to suit your needs.

Storage and Toy Chests

Lids should feature safety latches that prevent the top from falling freely or slamming shut on fingers or a child's head. Lids also should not lock automatically. If you have an older chest without safety latches, it is recommended that you contact the manufacturer for a replacement latch or remove the lid.

Reclining Chairs

Voluntary industry guidelines have made today's reclining chairs safer, but children should never be allowed to play on the chairs, particularly when the chair is in a reclined position.