Lock down your furniture for kids’ safety

Jeff Peterson
Jeff Peterson
Published on March 28, 2017

Even brand-new moms know to put those plastic things in electrical outlets and to child proof cupboards that contain hazardous materials. What is less well known however, is that the furniture in your home creates an enormous hazard to toddlers who love nothing more than to throw open dresser drawers in order to facilitate their scrambling and climbing endeavors.  For this reason, it is super important to child proof your home in every way possible.

In January, NBC News posted a horrifying video of two Utah toddlers using furniture to get what they wanted. Thankfully, the outcome for these munchkins wasn’t disastrous but unfortunately, disaster has happened for more than 40 children in the past 27 years, according to foxnews.com. Six of those children were killed when furniture toppled over on them, trapping them underneath.  Securing furniture is equally important as those plastic electrical plugs when you child proof your home.

In fact, the federal government claims that “Every 24 minutes, tipped furniture or a falling TV sends an injured child to the emergency room.”

In June of last year, Swedish retailer Ikea recalled 29 million chests and dressers which, if not anchored to a wall, pose “a tip-over and entrapment hazard that can result in death or injuries to children.”

Preventing furniture tip-overs is easy and inexpensive to child proof your home.

Secure the TVs

A child in pursuit of his or her favorite cartoon program will stop at nothing to get that TV turned on. This may include using the drawers of the TV stand as a ladder. The experts at anchorit.gov suggest using sturdy furniture to hold the CRT TV or, even better, something that sits low to the floor so the child won’t need to climb to reach the power button. Flat-screen TVs should be mounted securely to the wall which is one step to child proof your home.

If you must keep the TV up high, anchor it to the wall to prevent it from tipping and falling.

Furniture Anchoring

All bookcases, dressers, appliances, and other items a toddler may climb, should be securely anchored into a wall stud. You can purchase furniture anchors and restraints at large hardware retailers, baby supply stores (such as Babies”R”Us) and at big-box department stores. If you are anchoring Ikea furniture in order to child proof your home, the retailer offers anchor kits free of charge.

Safety experts suggest that you avoid restraints that utilize plastic cable ties as these can degrade over time and aren’t quite as strong as one might think. Use angle braces, such as those used for earthquake safety.

When you child proof your home, don’t skimp on the number of braces used, either. Use at least two for each appliance or piece of furniture and install them into a thick, solid piece of wood near the top of the item and then into a wall stud.  Ikea offers a “wall anchoring guide” on the company’s website.

Follow up on your safety precautions by checking the restraints on a monthly basis to ensure they remain tight.  When you child proof your home, it doesn’t end after the security measures have been installed.  It is important to ensure these securities are maintained and in working order.

Additional Considerations

Busy Moms and Dads know how easy it is to scoop up a toy and stick it on top of the TV or other tall piece of furniture until it can be put in its proper place later on. Frighteningly, it takes only seconds for a toddler to notice it, become curious and start climbing to reach it. Avoid temptations – put away items that may cause curiosity or, if they are toddler-appropriate, place them at kid-level.  This is an easy and free thing to do that will assist while you child proof your home.

Hide electrical cords or place them out of the reach of your children.

Kids love to explore and, with just a few dollars and a half hour of your time, they can do so safely when you child proof your home.

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