Get On Top of It Before They Do
There is nothing more important to a mom than making sure her child is happy, healthy, and safe. We take so many precautions – from car seat safety inspections to adjusting the temperature of the hot water heater to baby-proofing every room in our homes. We always want to ensure that we’re being proactive in making our child’s environment the safest it can be. Yet many tip sheets, blog posts, and even pediatrician recommendation lists are missing a critical safety precaution in the home – anchoring furniture and televisions to the wall.
Potential furniture and TV tip-over incidents are a hidden danger in the home. I recently received a 12-month developmental and safety checklist from the pediatrician at my son’s one-year checkup, and while there are plenty of notes about lowering the crib mattress, avoiding curtain cords, and locking away medications, there is no mention of anchoring furniture. And even as someone who was aware of anchoring, I’ll admit that when we first had my son, I found myself a bit overwhelmed when I researched baby-proofing tips and saw references to anchoring furniture. I wondered if anchoring was really necessary, and if it was even something I was capable of doing.
But then I learned that a child dies every 11 days when a TV, furniture, or appliance falls on them. About 70 percent of those fatalities involve children ages 1.5 to 3. In fact, 14,000 children are injured every year due to a tip-over incident, according to the newest report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. These numbers are scary – but these incidents are preventable. Seeing the numbers first hand was more than enough motivation for me to buy anchoring kits – and what I found upon installing the kits (which were fairly inexpensive) was that it only took about five minutes, and it was a simple process. It gave me peace of mind to know that nothing in our home would tip over on my son as he continued to grow and explore. Our bookshelves, dressers, TVs, and other larger furniture items were securely anchored to the wall.
How I made my home safer
Here are a few things that helped me as I researched and installed anchors in my home – all of these resources are available on CPSC’s Anchor It! website:
- This poster has simple steps on how to anchor, what tools you need to anchor furniture, and which items in your home should be secured.
- This tip sheet has important reminders, like recycling old, unused TVs and removing attractive items (like toys and remote controls) from the tops of dressers and other furniture.
- If you’re looking for a basic check list to use in your home or to share with a friend, I followed this one:
- Anchor furniture, such as dressers, armoires, and bookshelves to the wall
- Secure TVs to the wall or base/TV stand
- Watch this video demonstration to learn more about how tip-overs happen as well as how to easily install anti-tip devices (also known as anchors)
- Watch these how to anchor videos for drywall and brick walls
- Check for recalls of products that present tip-over hazards
How you can help other families
Since learning about the scary statistics related to tip-over incidents and small children, I’ve become passionate about sharing these resources with other parents in my community. You can help by passing the above information on to other parents and caregivers you know, along with this new, short video that provides a quick introduction to anchoring for those who may be unfamiliar with it. You can also get involved individually or through a company or organization you belong to as an Anchor It! Advocate or Community Leader.
Anchor It! Advocates and Community Leaders collaborate with CPSC to help raise awareness about the dangers of tip-over incidents in the home. By sharing campaign resources through their own channels, networks, and communities, they help to educate more parents and caregivers about inexpensive ways to prevent tip-over tragedies. Advocates and Community Leaders include organizations and individuals focused on child and home safety issues, parents/families who have lost children (or whose children have been injured) in tip-over incidents, and industry organizations.
Advocates and Community Leaders collaborate with CPSC to share safety messages related to anchoring, receive support from CPSC in the form of social media and website promotion, and also get access to free safety materials, with the understanding that they’ll distribute those materials within their network. If you’re interested in becoming an Anchor It! Advocate or Community Leader, you can contact CPSC.