Kid Safety Alert: TV and Furniture Tip-Over Incidents Continue to Cause Injury and Death
March 29, 2022
According to a recently released Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report, tip-over incidents continue to cause too many avoidable injuries and fatalities, primarily in children under the age of 18. Although there was a 55% decrease in emergency-department (ED) treated tip-over injuries in people of all ages from 2011 to 2020, thousands of children continue to sustain injuries – and far too often fatal ones – in tip-over incidents every year. As the CPCS’s Anchor It! campaign enters its seventh year, the agency is reminding parents and caregivers that anti-tip-over kits are not only inexpensive and easy to install, but that they protect children, teens, and others in the household from experiencing grievous bodily injuries.
Furniture tip-overs occur when a piece of furniture topples over on top of a person, which is typically (but not always) a child. Tip-overs normally result from some type of interaction, like when a person climbs on or exerts force on the object while it is in its normal position. Most American homes contain several heavy furniture items that create unintentional hazards, like dressers, tables, cabinets, stands, bureaus, wardrobes, and bookshelves. For example, Americans bought 45 million new televisions last year alone. When consumers leave clunky furniture items unsecured or neglect to adequately anchor them, it creates an extremely dangerous situation at home.
Tip-Over Statistics: Risk Factors, Common Injuries, and More
In its report, the CPSC provided injury estimates for the years 2018 through 2020 in addition to an extensive list of fatality reports spanning two decades (2000-2020). Here are some of the agency’s key findings in regard to tip-over incidents:
- In total, 22,500 individuals needed emergency medical care for tip-over-related injuries between 2018 and 2020
- Of the 22,500 tip-over incidents that occurred during that time period, children under 18-years-old accounted for 44% of injuries despite comprising only 22% of the general population
- Adults between the ages of 18 and 59-years-old represented 37% of total tip-over injuries from 2018-2020
- Senior citizens age 60 and above accounted for 19% of tip-over injuries during that same period
- From 2000 to 2020, 581 people lost their lives in tip-over incidents. 81% of reported fatalities involved children under the age of 18, 3% involved individuals between 18 and 59-years-old, and 15% were people over the age of 60
- Approximately 79% of annual ED-treated injuries involved furniture, 16% involved only a television and 4% involved exclusively an appliance
- 91% of reported fatalities occurred in residential settings as well as 66% of all tip-over-related injuries
- Of the fatalities, 32% involved only a television, 30% involved both a television and furniture tipping over, 31% involved exclusively furniture, and 7% involved only appliances. The largest appliance category for tip-over accidents were stoves or ovens, which contributed to 28 deaths in total
- The most commonly reported non-fatal and fatal injuries sustained by tip-over victims were contusions, abrasions, internal organ injuries, fractures, lacerations, crushing injuries, positional asphyxia, and head injuries
- Head injuries and crushing injuries caused the highest number of tip-over-related deaths
Anchor It! Tips for Preventing Tip-Overs
Ensuring that furniture, televisions, and appliances are safely secured in the home is quick, easy, and inexpensive: anchoring kits usually sell for about $20 and take less than 20 minutes to install. As part of its Anchor It! campaign, the CPSC is reminding adults to take the following steps in order to protect their families from tip-over-associated hazards:
- Anchor all televisions and furniture, like dressers and bookcases, securely to a wall
- Avoid displaying or storing items, like toys or remotes, where kids may want to climb and reach for them
- Always place a television on a low, sturdy base, and push it back as far as possible, particularly if you cannot anchor it
- Store heavier items on lower shelves or in lower-level drawers
- If you are purchasing a new television, consider recycling old ones that you no longer use. If you decide to move an older television to a different spot, make sure to anchor it
- Even if you have secured your televisions and furniture, supervise children as much as possible
To learn more about the CPSC’s Anchor It! campaign and to read useful tips on how to install an anchoring kit, visit here.
When an Unsafe Product Causes Injury or Death
Sometimes, a defective, inherently unsafe, or inadequately labeled product is to blame when a preventable injury or death occurs. In early 2020, for example, Ikea reached a $46 million settlement with a family who’s 2-year-old son died when an unsecured Ikea dresser fell on top of him. According to the family’s lawsuit, the dresser was “inherently unstable”. The CPSC has received at least eight reports of children who died in similar tip-over incidents involving recalled Ikea dressers.
Manufacturers, suppliers, and sellers are each equally obligated to produce and sell safe products to consumers. When a product like a television, dresser, bookshelf, or bureau causes harm due to an unsafe design, a manufacturing defect, or because it neglects to provide proper instructions and warnings, the victim may have a products liability lawsuit on their hands. A successful products liability claim requires a tenacious and credentialed attorney who has the resources and experience to successfully pursue the client’s case. For over 75 years, the attorneys at Galfand Berger have helped thousands of individuals injured by dangerous and unsafe products to obtain justice.
Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947
If a tip-over incident injured you or your loved one and you would like to speak to a lawyer about filing a claim, contact the Philadelphia products liability lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.