Tip-over accidents are an overlooked safety threat found in many homes across the country. These accidents occur when small children attempt to climb or pull down on furniture such as television sets, bookcases and dressers.

Every year in the US, an estimated 33,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for injuries caused by tip-over accidents. Two-thirds of fatal tip-over accidents involve toddlers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has suggestions for parents that may help prevent furniture tip-overs:

  • Parents should use sturdy furniture to hold heavy objects like books or television sets. Televisions should be placed on stands, inside media centers or mounted to walls.
  • Anchor bookcases, dressers and especially television sets to walls.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when assembling furniture.
  • Remove objects like toys or television remotes from the top of furniture. Children may be tempted to climb furniture to reach these objects.
  • Use anti-tip devices to secure top-heavy furniture. These devices may come with new furniture, but they can be purchased separately in most hardware and retail stores. Never wait to install these devices and always double-check to make sure they are working.

Defective Furniture Can Also Cause Tip-Over Accidents

In some cases, these accidents can still happen even when parents have done everything right. Furniture superstore IKEA recently settled with three families for $50 million, after its MALM dressers led to the deaths of three toddlers. The dressers had safety defects that caused them to easily tip over. IKEA allegedly sold these dressers to consumers while knowing the dangers they posed to children.

Parents of children harmed by defective furniture should contact a New Jersey product liability lawyer to discuss possible legal options.