Furniture Tip-Over Deaths Are On the Rise for Children: Here's How to Keep Your Family Safe
Consumer Reports began investigating the dangers of tip-overs following 6 deaths caused by an IKEA dresser in 2016
A new study has unveiled a deadly threat hiding in your home.
Every 17 minutes, a piece of furniture, TV or appliance tipping over causes an injury in the U.S., according to information provided to Consumer Reports (CR) by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. A total of 195 deaths caused by tip-overs were reported between 2000-2016.
The outlet’s most disturbing findings however, relate to tip-overs and children: a child is killed by a falling piece of furniture in the U.S. every two weeks. In 2016, 2,800 incidents of injuries to children were reported — a 33% increase from 2015.
CR launched their investigation into the dangers posed by these kind of tip-overs after, in 2016, IKEA voluntarily recalled about 29 million dressers and chests when six children were killed by the pieces falling on top of them.
One of the main factors affecting the safety of these furniture pieces, they found, is that the current safety test is voluntary for manufacturers, meaning some items could easily fall short of what’s safe.
To get an idea how easily consumers can spot the best products to buy, the outlet tested 24 dressers from several manufacturers against three different tests: In the first, they opened all drawers. For the second, they left the top drawer open and hung a 50-pound weight on the front of it (this matches the current voluntary test). And in the third, they repeated the second test, and then added weight in 1-pound increments until it reached 60 pounds.
Dressers and storage units account for at least 11% of the total accidents.
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Five of the dressers failed both tests two and three, while six failed only the third. A total of thirteen passed all three.
The pieces that failed either one or two tests included items from IKEA, DaVinci, Delta, Essential Home, Southshore and Storkcraft. The full results can be found on consumerreports.org.
CR is now suggesting more thorough precautions be put in place to ensure safety for the whole family.
“Our recommendations would lead to safer dressers for all consumers,” senior policy analyst for Consumers Union, an advocacy division of CR said. “Raising the test weight would cover more children, and lowering the minimum height would cover more dressers.”
One way to prevent tip-overs is to anchor large pieces of furniture to the wall.
Simply use a stud finder to locate the studs in your wall. If you have the anchoring kit that came with your furniture, remove the dresser’s back panel and attach to the wall using the provided hardware.
If you tossed the parts, an angle bracket can still do the trick. Use screws to attach the bracket to the dresser, cut the backing to fit around the bracket if necessary and then use a drill to secure the piece to the wall, either into a stud or using wall anchors.