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Childhood Wellness

These 5 Tips Can Make Your Home Safer for Young Children

About 35 children are injured each day when furniture, a TV, or an appliance falls on them. Yet these everyday items seldom come to mind when parents think of home hazards.

If you have children under 6 — or if children in this age group frequently visit — resolve to shine the light on “hidden” tip-over hazards in your home before you ring in the new year. For a safer 2020, take these simple and low-cost steps.

  1. If chests and dressers don’t already have them, install drawer “stoppers” to prevent drawers from being pulled out all the way. These can be found at stores that carry other childproofing devices. Also remember to place heaviest items in the lowest drawers.
  2. If you have a toddler, be as thorough installing tip restraints on furniture, appliances, and TVs as you are with covering outlets and safeguarding cabinets. Any chest of drawers, no matter how tall, can tip when a toddler pulls on, climbs in, or climbs on open drawers. Take no chances; anchor it! Tip restraints can be found online or in stores that carry other child-proofing devices.  
  3. Do not place TVs on any furniture that is not designed to hold electronics. The safest place for large, flat screen televisions is securely installed on a wall mount but if one is not an option for you, place TVs on low, sturdy furniture designed for electronics, and anchor the TV to the furniture or to the wall with straps designed for that purpose.
  4. Keep remote controls, toys, and any other enticing items off the tops of furniture and TVs where children can see but not reach them.
  5. If you are using furniture you acquired second-hand, check www.saferproducts.gov to ensure they have not been recalled for instability.  

While shopping, consider this

If you are purchasing a new chest or dresser in 2020, make sure it complies with the industry’s voluntary stability standard, and use the supplied tip-restraints to anchor it to the wall. The standard applies to all bedroom storage furniture — not just children’s furniture. 

This standard requires manufacturers to engineer chests and dressers so they remain stable when a drawer is opened and a 50-pound weight is applied to the front edge of that drawer. This test is meant to simulate the “pull” of an average 5-year-old child.More than a dozen leading furniture manufacturers now have their stability tests third-party verified by Underwriter’s Laboratory, the global safety science company. Online and in stores, the UL “Stability Verified” mark — which is endorsed by the American Home Furnishings Alliance — means a piece of furniture has met the stability requirements within the industry’s voluntary standard. Shoppers also can go to https://verify.ul.com for a list of model numbers that pass stability testing.

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