Home furniture may seem harmless. Nevertheless, it is surprising how often children can discover hazardous places and objects. When children play, it is natural for them to want to reach, climb and pull on furniture when exploring their surroundings. There are no limits to a child’s creativity and curiosity. Getting to know their environment is an important part of childhood development, leading them to every corner of the room – but it’s not always for the better.
They often use cupboards and shelves as climbing walls. Despite their light weight, a child’s maneuvers can be enough to tip large pieces of furniture over. The center of gravity shifts beyond the base of the furniture and can topple over. Heavier appliances, such as grand bookshelves and television sets can cause serious injuries and even death. There has been an eerily steady number of wrongful death lawsuits reported by the CPSC, regarding unsafe falling furniture. The most effective way to prevent accidents is to fix all furniture to the wall, but it’s not always enough.
Children are especially at risk because they are unaware of these dangers. When furniture falls over, they are not quick enough to react and avoid impact. Moreover, they are not strong enough to lift anything off themselves.
Furniture on lower levels may equally tip over. This is especially present when several drawers are open at the same time or when they are full – shifting the center of gravity off the base chests of drawers. The same effect occurs when a child climbs onto it. Therefore, furniture built both horizontally or vertically should probably be anchored to the wall. Another good idea is to place most of the weight in the lower chests, more so than the higher ones.
Most people don’t anticipate furniture overturning, since such accidents are rarely reported in the news. Heavy lobbying from furniture-making companies, such as IKEA, make it so that most of the blame is placed on the consumer rather than the manufacturer. Nevertheless, wrongful death suits continue to be filed by personal injury law firms, most of which understand the tactics used by insurance companies. It makes it that much more important to try to prevent falling furniture accidents, but also to have the proper information to take action if you or your child becomes a victim to it.