- November 2
- Evans & Herlihy
- Personal Injury
Budget-conscious parents may appreciate the availability of inexpensive, assemble-it-yourself furniture. It’s lightweight and fairly easy to transport; however, it may pose a threat to small children.
Every two weeks, a falling piece of furniture or a television kills a young child. Often, curious youngsters climb on furniture or try to reach something above them, causing the furniture to fall. Parents may be unaware that even a 30-inch-tall dresser could seriously injure or kill their children – it’s not just tall bookcases that cause these types of accidents.
To raise awareness of how tip-over accidents occur and how they can be prevented, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently launched its “Anchor It!” campaign. The Anchor It! website shows through pictures and video how tip-overs can occur in a matter of seconds. It also includes information about how parents can anchor televisions and other furniture to prevent them from tipping over, and that may be the most effective way to keep children safe.
The International Association of Child Safety founded a website for parents called Childproofing Experts. Among the information included on the site is a list of common myths about the safety of furniture, some of which are:
- Heavy furniture won’t tip over. It doesn’t matter how large, heavy, or sturdy a piece of furniture may be. When kids try to reach the top, they usually open the drawers or doors, which affects the center of gravity of the furniture. So when each drawer of a dresser is open, the effect of even a small child’s weight will be much greater.
- Cabinet or drawer latches will keep kids from climbing furniture. Children are resourceful; just because the drawers or doors won’t open doesn’t mean they won’t try to climb furniture anyway. Especially if a piece of furniture has protruding handles, kids may be able to climb it.
- Older children understand climbing is dangerous. It’s important to talk to children about the dangers of climbing furniture, but that doesn’t mean they’ll really believe you – or that they’ll remember what you told them a few years down the road. Never rely on a child’s own judgment as a safety mechanism.
It does not matter whether you have an expensive mahogany armoire or a budget-friendly shelf from IKEA – all furniture 30 inches or taller should be anchored to a wall, floor, or through some other means.
Even though manufacturers include anchoring hardware with products, it’s well known that consumers don’t always use them. And that’s not because consumers are careless about safety. Sometimes, after spending an hour assembling a piece of furniture, frazzled parents may decide they’ll install anchoring hardware some other time, but they forget to do it. Renters may be prohibited from making large holes in the wall, and some people may not have the tools to properly install furniture anchors.
There is a push among furniture and electronic manufacturers to put more pressure on the industry to create anchoring systems that can be installed easily, and without tools. If that were the case, consumers would probably use them more often than they do now. In the meantime, renters may be able to persuade landlords to be lenient about holes in the wall (especially if it saves a child’s life). And buying the tools necessary to install anchors is a small price to pay for a child’s safety.
If you have questions about how furniture tip-overs might apply to your situation, discuss it with one of the attorneys at the Austin, TX-based Evans Law Firm. As personal injury attorneys with years of experience, we help the people of Texas put their lives back on track. We offer small law firm attention with big law firm results. Call today at 1-855-414-1012 or fill out this online contact form to find out how we can help you.