I’ve been told children are born with two fears: loud noises and falling. Objects falling on them, however, isn’t something they fear.

I know that all pieces of free-standing furniture and TVs have the capability of tipping over. As a parent of a 10-month-old and as the Safe Kids Wisconsin coordinator, I am well aware of the potential hazard that poses for my son. After all, my son is curious and into everything just like all other toddlers and kids.

Since October, there have been three deaths in the Chicago area related to TVs falling onto children. Consumer Product Safety Commission data shows in 2006, there were 19,300 injuries associated with product instability or tip-overs involving children younger than 10. It’s not just an infant and toddler issue.

As parents, it’s important to make our children’s environment as safe as possible. My husband and I recently bought furniture straps to secure our television stand to the wall. We also bought a wall mounting bracket for our television.

Here are a few tips for securing your furniture:

  • If a piece of furniture is unstable or top-heavy, secure it to a stud in the wall using brackets, braces, anchors or wall straps. Large items such as TVs, microwaves, fish tanks, bookcases, heavy furniture and appliances can topple off stands and fall on children.
  • If you have a newer, flat screen TV, make sure it’s properly anchored to the wall.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions for tips or warnings regarding placement of your TV or furniture.
  • Keep heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers as this will help eliminate top-heavy furniture which topples over easily.
  • Don’t keep remote controls, candy, toys or other items that attract children on top of furniture, as your child might be enticed to reach for these items.
  • Supervise young children at all times.

Last, get down on your knees and look around the room to see the dangers at your child’s level. I also encourage you to visit safekidswi.org for additional resources.

Parents, post a comment and share your tips for keeping children safe at home.

~ Libbe Slavin, coordinator, Safe Kids Wisconsin Coalition

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