Three Simple Steps to Furniture Safety

Image: 

To Keep Children Safe, Anchor Televisions and Furniture Throughout Your Home

About three children are injured every hour in the United States when a television, piece of furniture or appliance that is not secured tips over on them, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.  In nearly 30 percent of these accidents, both a television and the furniture holding it fall.

A small, inexpensive bracket or nylon strap securing the furniture to the wall could prevent many of these accidents, say officials from the American Home Furnishings Alliance.  These devices, which, unfortunately, are absent from most child-proofing kits but are readily available online, typically install in three easy steps.

Research from AHFA shows that when a new TV comes home, the old TV is often moved to a secondary, less-supervised room in the house, such as a second bedroom, child’s bedroom, playroom or office. And, frequently, these units are placed on dressers, book shelves or other furniture not intended for holding electronics.

AHFA recommends placing televisions on furniture specifically designed for that purpose. In homes with small children, televisions should be anchored to the wall or to the furniture, and any furniture, with or without a television, that is taller than 30 inches should be secured to the wall with a furniture tip restraint.

Most tip restraints come with two brackets, two long screws for the wall, two shorter screws for the furniture, and a plastic or nylon strap. This type of restraint can be installed with just a screw driver and drill for the pilot holes, although a wall stud-sensor makes the task of locating a proper installation point easier.

Step #1  Locate a stud in the wall behind your furniture. Position a bracket on the wall in the location of the stud, approximately one inch below the top of the furniture. Mark and drill pilot holes into the center of the stud, then attach a bracket to the stud with the two longer screws.

Step #2  Attach the second bracket to the back of the furniture. Do this by moving the furniture into place in front of the wall bracket you just installed. Mark its location on the back of the furniture, then move the furniture away from the wall. Mark and drill holes for the screws, positioning them in the center of the cabinet top or “frame” that is visible from the back of the furniture.  Attach the bracket to the furniture using the two shorter screws.

Step #3  Move the furniture into its final position, lining up the two brackets. Thread the plastic or nylon strap provided in the tip restraint kit through the two brackets until snug. Do not overtighten. 

AHFA has worked for more than a decade on safety measures specifically designed to reduce the number of furniture tip-over accidents.  A voluntary furniture tip-over prevention standard for furniture manufacturers has been in place since 2000, and since 2009 it has required tip restraints to be shipped with all new bedroom furniture that is 30 inches or taller.

For more information on installing furniture tip restraints, contact the American Home Furnishings Alliance at 336-881-1006.