Safety Tips for Tip-Over Prevention

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According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 8,000-10,000 people are injured by falling furniture each year. A majority of these victims are children.

The American Home Furnishings Alliance is at the forefront of efforts to update the industry’s voluntary furniture tip-over standard and offers these tips for preventing furniture tip-over hazards in your home:

  • When purchasing new furniture, look for pieces that meet voluntary industry standards. ASTM (the American Society for Testing and Materials) has a tip-over standard for storage furniture, including chests, armoires and dressers. UL (Underwriters Laboratories) has one for TV stands. If you do not see a hangtag indicating a piece of furniture meets the applicable standard, ask a salesperson to verify that the manufacturer complies with the voluntary standards. 
  • Anchor any potentially unstable furniture. Bookcases, desks with hutches, armoires and chests of drawers intended for a child’s room should come with a tip-restraint kit. This kit is used to anchor the backs of taller pieces to the wall. If you have small children in your home, AHFA advises anchoring all bookshelves, armoires or chests of drawers throughout your home. Visit a local home improvement or hardware store for tips on how to safely anchor specific pieces of furniture. 
  • Look for automatic drawer stops. Furnishings for children’s rooms should be equipped with automatic drawer stops. These make it more difficult for children to sit or stand in the drawers. Never open more than one drawer at a time. Drawers should slide in and out easily. Tugging on a drawer that sticks can cause an entire piece to tip, or the drawer could pull out suddenly. 
  • Entertainment centers and TV stands. Furniture manufacturers offer a wide assortment of entertainment centers and consoles designed to accommodate today’s electronics. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s size and weight limits when purchasing furniture to house a new television or other electronic equipment. If you are placing new electronics in old furnishings, make sure the weight of the new equipment does not make the furniture unstable. Even today’s lighter weight, flat screen televisions can cause instability if placed on furniture that is not constructed for housing electronics. 
  • Don't create temptations to climb. Placing an enticing object, like a toy or the remote control, on the top of a dresser or bookcase is an invitation for youngsters to climb.