Experts offer parents tips to prevent furniture falls - KPTV - FOX 12

Experts offer parents tips to prevent furniture falls

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Randall Children's Hospital Health Educator Jan Berichon said that any furniture 30 inches or taller that is intended to hold clothing is supposed to come with anchoring devices. (KPTV) Randall Children's Hospital Health Educator Jan Berichon said that any furniture 30 inches or taller that is intended to hold clothing is supposed to come with anchoring devices. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Every 24 minutes a child in the US is injured as a result of a furniture fall, and more often than not, it happens in their own home.

That is according to a recent consumer report which also noted that falling televisions present a serious risk to kids if the sets are not properly anchored. A TV falling from a dresser can strike a child with thousands of pounds of force.

A disturbing video from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission demonstrates how easy a TV can tip onto a child.  In the video a dummy is used to show how a child can climb drawers in a dresser like stairs to try to reach the TV, causing it tip forward. 

The CPSC says falls like this happen daily across the country, and it's practically the play-by-play for what happened to Kai Lloyd when he was just 3 years old.

"We were at home getting ready the beginning of the day," Kai’s mom Grace Lloyd said. "We had a dresser which was about three drawers tall and it had large old tube TV on top of it. I remember we just heard a crash, and we ran into the bedroom and the TV was on top of him."

Thankfully Kai survived with minor injuries. Randall Children's Hospital Health Educator Jan Berichon said that far too often that's not the case. 

"A lot of times when a dresser or furniture falls on a child, the family won't know because they're crushed, so you don't hear the furniture fall," she explained. "They may have been able to respond if they had heard, so some deaths are from suffocation."

Berichon runs the Randall Children's Hospital Safety Center, a place that sells just about anything you can imagine to secure a TV, a dresser, or even a stove to the wall to prevent it from toppling over. 

"Toddlers are at highest risk," she said. "But kids are at risk in general until about 10."                                    

STORY EXTRA – Learn more about the Randall Children's Hospital Safety Center

Berichon said children of all ages go after things out of reach, and when that happens they climb.

"Realistically, if you think about what a lot of us do if we can't reach something, is maybe pull a piece of furniture over to reach," she said. "An 8 or 9-year-old thinks they can do things on their own, and they stand on the bottom of a dresser or shelf and that's when things topple over."

Berichon said that any piece of furniture 30 inches or taller that is intended to hold clothing is supposed to come with anchoring devices.  If that's not the case, those devices can be found in her store, online and in countless other places. 

 Berichon told FOX 12 it's a common misconception that flat screen TV's don't need to be anchored down because they're so light, but she says that is not the case and they are still heavy enough to seriously hurt a child.

"People may think ‘I don't want to put holes in walls,’ especially if they're rentals, so they can't do damage, but most of us install pictures on walls. It's always best to just ask," she said.

Berichon said so many things in life aren't preventable, but furniture falls are.  

STORY EXTRA – AnchorIt.gov – Tips for securing furniture

That was a lesson the Lloyd family learned in a terrifying way. 

"It would have been horrible if he had lost an eye or worse his life,” Lloyd said. “I praise god every day that he protected our child."

It is a lesson in life the family is sharing to prevent it from happening to anyone else.

"As a nurse and as a parent, I want to make our house as safe as possible to prevent it from happening," Lloyd added.

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