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Ideas to Tackle Tip-Overs

Start by Safeguarding Against Large Furniture, TV Tip-Over Hazards

From outlets and plugs to pools and grills, families are usually aware of the safety dangers that lurk in and around the home, but heavy appliances and inanimate objects don't always come to mind. That said, large TV and heavy furniture tip-overs pose a threat and injure thousands, particularly children, every year.

More specifically, when it comes to children's safety, the most common tip-over scenarios involve toddlers. About 70 percent of these fatalities involved falling TVs where they have climbed onto, fallen against or pulled themselves up on furniture.

"This is not as uncommon as people might think, sadly," says John Drengenberg, consumer safety director at UL. The global safety science organization has been writing the requirements and testing TVs for electric shock, fire and mechanical hazards since televisions became commercially available and is reminding parents and caregivers to safeguard against potential furniture and TV tip-overs. "The reality is that taking a few simple steps around your home can make a huge difference in safeguarding against an unfortunate accident."

While 40 children visit emergency rooms each day with injuries after a heavy piece of furniture has fallen on them, half of those injuries are directly related to TVs tipping off of unstable furniture.[1] On average, one child dies every two weeks when a TV, piece of furniture or appliance falls on him, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

UL offers the following easy-to-adopt guidelines around two critical areas, placement and mounting, so that everyone can safeguard against potential TV tip-over hazards:

TV PLACEMENT ON FURNITURE

  • When installing a TV for the first time or relocating an existing TV within the home, UL strongly recommends the use of stands either specifically recommended by the TV manufacturer or specifically designed to support the size and weight of the TV.
  • Make sure that furniture is stable on its own.
  • Make sure that furniture is stable after the TV is placed on the furniture.
  • For added security, anchor the furnishing to the floor or attach the entertainment center or TV stand to the wall using appropriate hardware, such as brackets, screws or toggles
  • Place TVs on sturdy furniture appropriate for its size.
  • Push TVs as far back as possible from the front of its stand. The TV should never overhang the edges of the furnishing.
  • Remove items that might tempt kids to climb, like toys and remote controls, from the top of TVs and tall furniture.
  • Place electrical cords and cables out of a child's reach and teach them not to play with cords.

MOUNTING PROCEDURES

  • In addition to testing TVs for safety, UL also tests the wall mounting hardware amd carts and stands to support the TV. Homeowners must mount or secure TVs in accordance with the installation instructions supplied with the product.
  • Check for the UL Mark when purchasing mounting hardware. Manufacturers use the UL Mark to signify that the equipment meets rigorous safety standards.


[1] Statistic courtesy of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital.