Before my husband and I could sell our previous home, we had to have an inspection to ensure that appliances like the stove were tethered to the wall. I understand the logic behind this. If you open an oven door and have something heavy on the rack, the stove could tip forward and cause serious injuries.
Turns out there are lots of other appliances—big appliances and small appliances—that can also cause serious injuries. And not all of them are likely inspected as closely as our old stove was. For example, a television in homes could be a deadly weapon.
Why am I bringing this up now? Two reasons.
First, a new U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data report issued last week shows that 349 consumers were killed between 2000 and 2011, when TVs, furniture, or appliances toppled over onto them. Last year (2011) had the highest one-year number of fatalities reported.
Next, a lot of people are likely going to get new televisions at the holidays. Many families are switching to flat screen TVs that can be hung on a wall and could be less risky for tipping over. But it's the old TVs that could cause a problem, says the CPSC.
Older and often the heavier television in homes are moved into bedrooms and other rooms in the house, without the proper stand or anchoring device accompanying them. Many of the reported fatalities occurred in bedrooms—40 percent, to be exact.
The CPSC says that unanchored televisions placed on dressers, bureaus, and tables not intended to be used as a TV stand have been associated with many tip-over incidents involving both the TV and the furniture. Children are often the ones who initiated the tipping.
Televisions should always be placed on stands appropriate for the size and weight of the product. Once in place, an anti-tip or stabilizing device should be installed to help prevent tip overs.
It isn't just a television in homes that cause serious injuries. The CPSC says furniture and large and small appliances are responsible for the more than 43,000 consumers who are injured each year in tip-over incidents. Falling furniture accounts for more than half (52 percent) of the injury reports. Falling televisions have proven to be more deadly, as they are associated with more than half (62 percent) of reported fatalities. In 57 percent of the reported fatalities and 39 percent of injuries, the victim was struck in the head by the falling item.
To help prevent tip-over tragedies, CPSC recommends the following safety measures in homes where children live or visit:
- Anchor furniture to the wall or the floor.
- Place TVs on sturdy, low bases, or anchor the furniture and the TV on top the base, and push the TV as far back on the furniture as possible.
- Keep remote controls, toys, and other items that might attract children off of TV stands or furniture.
- Keep TV and/or cable cords out of reach of children.
- Make sure freestanding kitchen ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.