Parents with small children take note: Even the most safety-conscious parents may miss this danger to children – a piece of furniture, a television or an appliance tipping over when a child is climbing on it or another child pushes it. The chance of injury is real, whether you have a 1-year-old or an 8-year-old.
Between 2008 and 2010, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, falling furniture, TVs and appliances sent an average of 25,300 children a year to emergency rooms.
“We see all sorts of femur, elbow and other fractures associated with improperly installed electronic devices or large pieces of furniture tipped over,” said Dr. James Dunlap, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon with the Kids Specialty Center at Women’s & Children’s Hospital. “Also, it’s imperative: Don’t place things like a remote, candy or other items enticing to a child on top of large furniture items that may encourage them to climb.”
A 2015 study in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics found that at least half the injuries reported in these falling-furniture accidents were to the head and neck, including bleeding in the ear, nose and throat; skull fractures; and bleeding within the skull (intracranial bleeding).
These accidents result in death about 10 percent of the time. Almost all deaths were due to brain injuries, the study found.
“The best rule for any parent is prevention. Make sure you read the directions and install large furniture or electronic devices like flat screen televisions properly,” said Dr. Ann Marie Flannery, pediatric neurosurgeon, also with the Kids Specialty Center. “During the holiday season, be especially careful while visiting relatives who may not have child-proofed their home because they don’t have children in the home on a regular basis.”
The following steps can help you protect your children or someone else’s from being hurt in your home.
- Set TVs on low, wide tables and push them back as far as they’ll go.
- Don’t put TVs on top of dressers or on open shelves.
- Use a strap to attach TVs to a stand or wall.
- Fasten dressers, bookshelves and entertainment centers to walls with safety straps, brackets or other devices.
- Store heavy items on the bottom and lower shelves of entertainment centers and shelving units.
- Verify that your stove, oven or range has an anti-tip bracket that attaches it firmly to the wall or floor.
- Move cookies and other tempting foods away from the oven to discourage children from using the door as a step stool to reach them.
Young children can’t foresee the danger of climbing or pulling on furniture. It’s up to you to keep them safe. Find out more by calling Dr. Dunlap and Dr. Flannery at 337-371-3101 today or visit www.KidsSpecialtyCenter.com.