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CPSC warns of hidden hazard: TVs and furniture that tip over

Did you get a big-screen TV for the holidays? Perhaps you bought a new dresser for your child's room? The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission urges you to anchor heavy electronics and furniture to walls in order to prevent them from tipping over. The majority of tip-over accidents injure children, who are prone to climb furniture, but adults are at risk, too.

The CPSC recently initiated a safety campaign called "Anchor It!" to encourage families to properly secure furniture and televisions to walls. This requires determining whether the object needs tip-over protection, considering where to locate the object, and making sure you have the proper hardware.

As you may be aware, IKEA recently recalled millions of dressers and chests of drawers because they didn't meet safety standards related to tip-over risks. Eight children were killed when the furniture toppled over. While IKEA says it no longer sells furniture that fails those standards, you may have purchased it before the recall or on the secondary market.

According to the CPSC, between 2000 and 2016, the CPSC reports, 514 people were killed in these accidents -- and over 80 percent of them were kids.

No-tip standards and anchoring

Furniture safety standards are set by ASTM International. To remain unanchored, the piece must not tip over when all the drawers are opened to a stop or fully opened, for example. Pieces with doors must not tip when the doors are opened to 90 degrees. Furniture that tips in these tests must be sold with anchoring kits.

If you haven't bought the furniture yet, avoid anything that doesn't specifically state that it meets ASTM standards.

Televisions can easily be pulled over. Anchor them whenever you suspect someone could be injured if the set were to fall.

When you have a new item that requires anchoring, choose a location that will allow anchoring. If you have sheet rock walls, you will need to locate the studs, so use a stud finder. Then, simply follow the instructions on the anchoring kit.

If you have brick or plaster walls, a stud finder won't work. In order to avoid drilling multiple holes, you might consider hiring a professional.

If you will still be using your existing TV or furniture in another room, don't forget to anchor it. Unfortunately, many people simply put older TVs on top of dressers or other furniture. This is not safe. When buying an anchoring kit, make sure that it complies with ASTM standards, too.

We hope these tips will encourage you to anchor your new piece of furniture or TV -- and your old one, if you will still be using it. Avoiding this hidden hazard can prevent dangerous accidents.

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