Most of the injuries that happen to small children occur in the home. Furniture and television tipovers are becoming more and more common and they are extremely dangerous – causing a death approximately once every two weeks according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Children under the age of five years old are most at risk. Home is like a playground to small children; play is their work. Kids love to climb, explore, and investigate. When they see something of interest (which is almost everything in the home) they do whatever it takes to get to it. Here are some ways to keep your home safe:
• Secure your television. If it is not mounted to the wall it should still be anchored to a wall.
• Secure all tall and top heavy furniture to the wall. Newer furniture often comes with a wall mount kit; kits are available for purchase for furniture without wall mounting. Entertainment centers, bookshelves, and dressers should be anchored to a wall – these are the most common climbed upon items.
• Keep interesting (remember, almost everything is interesting to a child, especially toys and remote controls) things off of the top shelves of dressers, etc. Toddlers learn quickly that pulling a drawer open will create a ladder to climb.
• Keep heavier items on lowest shelves or in lowest drawers to add stability and prevent a high impact injury.
• Follow all manufacturer instructions when mounting furniture to the wall and test it’s hold.
Remember, anchor all furniture, not just the dresser in the child’s room. Children explore the entire house. Well-constructed and heavy furniture will also need to be anchored. It may feel too heavy to tip but as soon as drawers are opened the center of gravity is changed and the heavy dresser will fall. Be alert for furniture recalls and follow through as the manufacturer recommends. Let’s keep all of those little explorers safe!