While shopping in a California IKEA store, personal injury attorney Doug Landau of the Herndon, Virginia Abrams Landau law firm came across useful information to prevent tip-over injuries or death.
Every two weeks, a child dies in the United States from furniture appliances or TVs tipping over, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. In order to keep your child safe, there are several commonsense rules to follow. These preventable tragedies can be avoided if we take a moment to think about how we can make our homes safer places for our kids.
1. Secure furniture. Furniture must be permanently attached to the wall. Consult the guide for help with hardware and/or bolt choices; ensure that any furniture, especially TVs, are securely attached to either a wall or other furniture that will not budge. Lawyer Landau recently encountered sheet rock which required toggle bolts to secure a shelving unit. If he had just used nails, over time, the unit would have started to loosen, eventually falling out and potentially injuring someone.
2. Don’t stack heavy objects. Never have a television, large computer screen or other weighty object on top of a chest or drawers or any other type of furniture, unless it is somehow securely fastened to the furniture. The higher the heavy weight is from the floor, the more dangerous it can be. Objects that may not seem that heavy to an adult, when they fall from a height of four or five feet, could potentially kill a small child.
3. Heavier objects on bottom drawers. For the safety of everyone, place heavy objects in the lower drawers; that way, the piece of furniture has more stability.
4. Enforce rules. Something Landau’s late father-in-law would remind his children of all the time was: never let children climb, hang on, or jump on drawers, door or shelves. Furniture is not intended to be playground equipment of a jungle gym. As a child gets higher of the ground, the likelihood of tipping and injuries increases.
Young children do not understand the dangers of climbing home furniture in order to get something that may be too high up for them, especially if the items and/or furniture are not secured to the wall. Children are, by nature, inquisitive and want to see things that are just out of reach. It is important to set boundaries and rules early. Just as when a child sticks a finger in a light socket, a teaching moment follows; so, too, when they try to ascend a cabinet, dresser, etc.
If you or someone you know has been injured due to faulty furnishings and there are questions as to how the law applies in such situations, please give us a call (703-796-9555) or email us at Abrams Landau, Ltd.