Every Two Weeks, a Child Dies From a Furniture or TV Tip-Over Accident

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It is unfortunately becoming all too commonplace to hear about the death of a young child as a result of a tip-over accident involving a piece of unsecured furniture in the home. Just recently, this issue was local news as a products liability lawsuit was filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by the family of a two-year-old West Chester, Pennsylvania boy who was killed after a MALM model dresser, which was purchased at an IKEA store in Conshohocken, PA, fell and crushed him. The suit alleges that the dresser came without hardware to secure it to the wall, despite Ikea having knowledge of the tip-over hazard. A similar incident occurred in 2005 when a 3 year old Huntingdon Valley, PA girl was killed by a falling 200 pound Ikea dresser.

from CPSC.gov national campaign, 'Anchor It!'
from CPSC.gov national campaign, ‘Anchor It!’

Consumer Product Safety Commission Launches National Tip-Over Accident Awareness Campaign, ‘Anchor It!’

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), 430 reported fatalities associated with TV, furniture, and appliance tip-over accidents occurred between 2000 and 2013. In 2011 alone, 49 children died, according to hospital data gathered by the CPSC. The CPSC reports that every 24 minutes, a child in the US visits the ER due to a furniture tip-over accident, and that on average, 1 child dies every 2 weeks when a television or piece of furniture falls on them. Although unclear why there have been an increase in tip-over incidents in recent years, it is believed that consumers buying flat screen televisions are putting their old, bulky sets on furniture never intended to carry the weight.

The CPSC recently launched ‘Anchor It’– a national public education safety campaign aimed at creating awareness and reducing the number of deaths and injuries from tipping furniture and TVs. The CPSC advises that a child could be saved from injury or death by following these eight simple steps:

  • Only place televisions on sturdy furniture designed to hold a television such as a media center or television stand.
  • Flat screen televisions should be mounted to the wall, and if not mounted, should still be anchored to the wall.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions to secure TV’s and furniture properly.
  • Existing furniture can be mounted with inexpensive anti-tip brackets that can be purchased at retail stores.
  • Install new furniture with the anti-tip devices that come with them right away.
  • store heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers.
  • Remove items from the tops of furniture and televisions that may tempt kids to climb such as toys and remote controls.
  • Supervise children in rooms where these safety tips have not been followed.

As a result of an ASTM International (American Society for Testing & Materials) standard developed in 2009, furniture manufacturers are now encouraged to include anti-tipping devices and installation instructions with pieces that are more than 30 inches tall. The test requires that a unit does not tip when a drawer is extended and 50 pounds, simulating the weight of a child, is added. Although this standard can certainly help prevent injuries and death as a result of a tip-over, compliance with this standard is unfortunately voluntary. However, ASTM standards are considered baseline safety ‘best practices’ and as such, failure to comply with them can create legal liability and serve as a basis for a products liability lawsuit.

New Jersey and Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

The personal injury attorneys at Messa & Associates, P.C. are experienced with cases involving defective products as well as injuries to children. If you or a loved one has been injured in a tip-over accident or by a defective or faulty product, please do not hesitate to contact us by calling, toll free, 877-MessaLaw, for a free consultation. You may also submit an online inquiry and received a free case evaluation.


Call the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers of Messa & Associates today to discuss your case with a professional who has the knowledge to answer your questions or submit a free online inquiry.

Call, toll-free, 1-877-MessaLaw (637-7252), or submit a free online inquiry form.

About the Author:

Director of Marketing for Messa & Associates located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For all marketing or press release communications, contact sking@messalaw.com.

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