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5 Furniture Safety Myths that Pose Harm to Children

While the furniture in your home may not seem like a hazard, it has the potential for causing serious injury to children. Being aware of these common misconceptions will help to ensure a safer home environment for kids. 

1. The dresser is so heavy, it will not tip over

Your dresser might have been heavy for the movers but heavy furniture is still a hazard for a young child. When a child opens the drawers and climbs on them, even a heavy dresser or another type of furniture can fall on a child. When the drawers are opened, the center of gravity changes and the furniture has the potential to tip over, with or without someone climbing on it.

2. We do not need to anchor furniture in our bedroom because our children do not play in the master bedroom

Tip-over injuries can happen very quickly. Children may wander into a room when you do not expect it, even under close supervision. Anchor the furniture in master bedrooms and other rooms, not just the nursery or playroom.

3. We latched the drawers so the dresser is now safe

Cabinet latches are designed to prevent access to cabinets and drawers for babies and young toddlers. Cabinet latches are not designed to replace furniture anchoring devices. Eventually, children will learn to defeat latches and the dresser will still be a tip-over risk. 

4. Older children know not to climb

Children do not think about a dresser or a bookcase being something that could harm them. Drawers are often used like a ladder so a child can reach an item that is too high for him or her. Even if you have explained that climbing is dangerous to your toddler, a parent should not trust that a curious child will not climb. 

5. We purchased a safe sturdy dresser and bookcase from a great furniture store

All types of furniture pose a hazard, including discounted furniture and high-quality furniture, tall and short bookcases, chests with drawers, dressers, armoires, furniture with shelves and/or doors and more. 

Here are some tips for anchoring furniture: 

  • Wide pieces of furniture might need additional anchors. For stacked pieces of furniture, anchor the top piece (e.g., hutch, additional bookcase, etc.) to the base and then anchor to the wall. Angle brackets (L brackets) work well on the top of bookcases.
  • Ensure restraints are installed into a solid piece of wood on the back (or the top) of the furniture. You will find that some furniture has very thin pieces of wood or other materials on the back that would not be able to hold a screw.
  • Attach anchors to a wall stud made of wood. Do not attach a product with plastic dry-wall anchors. 
  • Ensure restraints are tight and regularly check them. Many products require the installer to tighten them during the last step of installation. There should not be slack in the furniture strap or anchor.
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