Preventing Falling Objects & Tip Overs At Home
Accidents around the home cause injury to hundreds of children each year here in Austin. If you’ve ever had a curious toddler or preschooler climb on something you didn’t think they could reach then you probably have a good idea of how tipping and falling object accidents can happen!
As adults we don’t often see these risks in our home – we stand several feet above the ground where everything is eye level to us. To young children, even those just learning to stand and walk, the majority of the objects in the home are high and out of reach. Curiosity is a terrific personality trait, but one that should remind parents to heed a little additional caution when we have young children in the house.
The dangers of TV
What falls most often? Although there have been highly publicized stories of dressers and bookcases falling on children, televisions are the most common falling object. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, founded by the Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., there has been a 31 percent increase in TV tip-over related injuries over the past 10 years.
In fact, according to the study, “Television-Related Injuries to Children in the United States, 1990–2011,” published in the August 2013 issue of Pediatrics, the rate of pediatric injuries caused by falling TVs is increasing– about 12,300 injuries among U.S. children under age 18 in 2011, up 126% from 5,455 injuries in 1990.
Unfortunately seven out of 10 children injured by TV tip-overs are 5 or younger, with boys representing 61% of all injured patients. Although we may not see a television as a real danger in the home, especially given how much smaller they have become in the last 10 years, they can be devastatingly dangerous to small children. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a 36-inch CRT television falling three feet creates the same momentum as a 1-year-old child falling 10 stories.
Should I stop my toddler from climbing?
It is nearly impossible to stop an active toddler or preschooler from climbing 24 hours a day! Climbing is an important skill that helps children problem solve, learn balance and build their strength. Encourage your toddler or preschooler to climb at an age appropriate playground or create a safe environment in your home to help them build those skills and get out their energy.
Tips for Stabilizing Furniture
Childproofing your home is not as easy as the books and blogs make it sound! Often children find the one thing we haven’t thought of and access something we wish they hadn’t. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends stabilizing furniture and any object in your home that children can climb on. There are a variety of mounting products on the market. Look for something that will secure your dresser, bookcase, mirror or tippable furniture to the wall.
Consider looking for straps or screws to secure a television or heavy display object to the furniture it sits on. Once you’ve installed the mount or stabilization fix, test it yourself. Children are stronger than you think, so make sure it doesn’t shift, rattle or move. Consider shifting objects to the back of a piece of furniture, so they are less likely to be grabbed or to fall off the front if a child moves the furniture. Also, think about the objects you use that your children may be interested in, such as tablets, remote controls and telephones.
Change your behavior and avoid putting those on furniture you don’t want your children to climb on. To identify as many hazards as possible, we recommend getting down low on your hands and knees and looking around your room. What would you grab onto if you needed help getting up? What would you try to use as a step stool? Are there any cords your child can pull on?
Children are curious and active, but let’s do the best we can to keep them safe! If you have questions about an injury or accident you child sustained at home, don’t hesitate to give our Austin pediatric orthopedic’s office a call.
For more information on tip-over safety, please visit: https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Tipover-Information-Center/