Young children have a naturally curious need to explore; however, they don’t understand the danger of climbing up furniture to reach irresistible items up high.

“Tip-over injuries, where heavy objects such as furniture or TVs fall on and seriously injure or crush children, happen about every hour in the United States,” says pediatrician Dr. Pilar Bradshaw.

Preventing furniture tip-overs
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most injuries and deaths from toppled furniture involve kids under the age of 6. Of the fatal incidents involving children, about 50% happen in bedrooms, sometimes when parents think their kids are asleep. Common injuries include:

  • Skull fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Suffocation
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries

While no parent can have eyes on their child every moment of the day, there are things you can do to help make your home environment as safe as possible. To prevent tip-overs:

  • Never place a TV on top of a dresser, especially in a child’s room or playroom.
  • Secure all furniture, TVs and mirrors with anti-tip devices. This may require relocating the furniture so the wall anchors can be placed in a stud. Anti-tip devices cost anywhere from $5-$25 and take just minutes to install. Learn more about anchoring furniture and TVs here.
  • Install dresser drawer stops or safety straps so your child can’t pull the drawers all the way out.
  • Place heavier items in the lowest drawers of a dresser or on the lowest shelves of a bookcase.
  • Avoid putting items like toys, electronics and remote controls in high places, no matter where that is.

“Any time that you have toys or something that’s colorful or electrical and lights up, that is going to naturally be of interest to your child,” says Dr. Bradshaw. “And if it’s up high, they will do whatever it takes to try to get to that object, setting themselves up for a potentially serious tip-over injury.”

If your child is injured
If your child has had furniture fall on them and they are seriously injured or non-responsive, call 911 immediately. If they appear fine, be sure to take them to see their pediatrician right away. There could be internal bleeding or damage to their organs that you can’t see.