When we confiscate a remote or a toy or whatever from our kids (or forbid them to have it in the first place, which is basically the same as issuing them a “try to get it back” challenge), our natural response is to put it up high and out of reach. Or at least, where we think it will be out of reach. Problem is, even the places we feel are most inaccessible are no match for the sheer determination and superhuman climbing ability of a small child.
I swear, they see every remotely scalable surface as their own personal Mount Everest. And if there’s some kind of reward at the end of it — like Mom’s (not-so) secret stash of chocolate — they make it their personal mission to reach the top at all costs.
One day, when my second son was a toddler, he woke up earlier than usual from his afternoon nap. I didn’t even realize he was awake. Instead of coming to find me, like always, he wandered out of his own bedroom and into mine — where he attempted to climb up and turn on the brand-new TV that we had just gotten the day before. We’d planned to hang it on the wall (the mounting kit was sitting in the room, still in its box), but in the meantime, we had placed the TV on top of our flimsy Walmart bookcase. I heard a crash, and when I bolted into the bedroom, I found my toddler crawling out from under the tipped-over shelves — and our new TV smashed to bits on the floor.
Miraculously, though my son was definitely scared, he was completely uninjured — not a scratch on his daredevil-ish little body, thank goodness. (Wish I could say the same for the television, but it was completely destroyed and warranties don’t cover “demolition by 2-year-old.”)
I realize now how extremely lucky we are that our TV was the only loss in that incident because a heartbreaking number of serious injuries and deaths occur on a regular basis due to things just like this: kids climbing on unanchored furniture. According to anchorit.gov, a website run by the government’s Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the statistics are shocking: Every two weeks, a child dies from tipping a television or furniture over onto him — or herself. 91% of these fatalities occur in the home, and 46% of them occur in a bedroom. And that’s just the fatalities — an additional 33,000 consumers are injured each year because of tip-over incidents.
We are so careful to childproof our homes, putting latches on cabinets and plastic caps over outlets and baby gates on stairs, yet things like this can completely slip our minds. Fortunately, we can keep these things from happening by taking these simple, but necessary steps:
– Finding a different hiding place for stuff, somewhere that isn’t high up, therefore removing some of the temptation to climb.
– Securing top-heavy furniture following the manufacturer’s directions.
– Mounting TVs to the wall.
– Using sturdy furniture and only for its intended purpose (you’d better believe my bookcases only contain books now, and they are anchored).
– Purchasing brackets, mounting straps, or other anti-tip devices for furniture and appliances that don’t come pre-equipped with them. They’re inexpensive — you can find them for $5–$25 — and easy to find (just Google “anti-tip kit” or something similar).
– Installing anti-tip devices immediately. They can’t do their job if they’re still in the box. *hangs head in shame*
Tipping risk is something we all need to be aware of and spread the word about. For further information, statistics, and to learn about becoming an Anchor It! Advocate or Community Leader, visit anchorit.gov. Preventing these accidents should be a no-brainer; it takes five minutes to potentially save your child’s life. I learned my lesson the hard way, but thankfully not the hardest.