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Report: ‘Tip-over’ deaths usually involve children

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EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — More than 500 people have died because of furniture, TV, and appliance tip-overs, according to a new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and experts are raising awareness during the holiday season.

The vast majority of those incidents, 459 of 556, involved children, although the frequency of such deaths has declined in recent years.

The report also shows the number of injuries from tip-over incidents dropped from about 44,000 in 2009 to 27,000 in 2018.

Dr. Dina Burstein from Lifespan’s Injury Prevention Center said tip-over accidents are most common among kids five years old or younger.

“It does happen more frequently than people realize,” Burstein said.

“What often happens with these is that children will try to climb up the piece of furniture an often they’re trying to climb up to get something that’s enticing that’s on top, either one of their toys or a stuffed animal or something that looks interesting, so don’t put anything that a child might be interested in at the top of taller furniture,” she added.

Almost half of fatal tip-over incidents happened in bedrooms. Another 19% occured in living rooms.

CPSC safety tips:

  • Anchor furniture to the wall – install low-cost anchoring devices that can prevent TVs, dressers, bookcases and other furniture/appliances from tipping.
  • Always place TVs on a sturdy, low base and push the TV as far back as possible, particularly if anchoring is not possible.
  • Avoid displaying or storing items, such as toys and remotes, in places where kids might be tempted to climb up to reach for them.
  • Store heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers.
  • If purchasing a new TV, consider recycling older ones not currently used. If moving the older TV to another room, be sure it is anchored properly to the wall.
  • Keep TV and/or cable cords out of reach of children.
  • Supervise children in rooms where these safety tips have not been followed.

“CPSC is working with manufacturers and retailers to ensure that furniture is less likely to tip,” said Robert Adler, acting chair of the agency. “In the meantime, CPSC encourages all parents and caregivers to learn about these dangers in the home, and take simple, low-cost steps to prevent these tragedies during the holiday shopping season and all year.”

Most anti-tip brackets and straps cost between $5 and $25.

Susan Campbell ( is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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