What parents need to know to keep their children safe from falli - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

What parents need to know to keep their children safe from falling furniture at home

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It's a common mistake parents make across the country make, and on average it takes the life of one child every ten days.  But it's a mistake that's completely avoidable. 

Unsecured furniture in homes can be extremely dangerous and sometimes fatal to children if it falls on them. 

"Imagine losing your child or have you child be permanently disabled because of something that was completely preventable would just be heartbreaking," says OSF Saint Anthony ER Assistant Medical Director Dr. Jack Wu.  

Right now the furniture industry doesn't mandate a test.  There's a voluntary tip over assessment, which means any dresser taller than 30 inches should stay upright with 50 pounds of weight hanging from an open drawer.  This test is not required. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says 46% of tip over deaths happen in the bedroom, many times after a nap when the child crawls out of their bed. 

"First of all head injury is the most common injury if furniture were to fall on the head. In regards to that we think about the head and also the cervical spine which is the spine," says Dr. Wu.  "Injuries to this can cause pretty severe neurological debilitation." 

Wu says TVs and dressers account for the most frequent and dangerous incidents, with injuries not always so obvious to parents. 

"Internal injuries, internal bleeding. Which may occur at a later time which parents may not perceive at the time of the injury. "

Rockford's Fire Department says it responds to about one of these calls per year.  Paramedics say the smaller the child, the bigger the trauma can be. 

"With an infant that's crawling or standing when they pull something depending on how high it is,it's just like if they fell from that height," says Rockford Fire Department Fire Prevention Coordinator Tim Morris.  "The distance that item falls has a bigger velocity or impact which could cause a greater injury.  The higher the farther it falls the more impact or force it'll have on that young child."

Morris says these accidents are completely avoidable. 

"Almost any TV we see on the market now comes with a latching device. All that really is, is a steel kind of wire that mounts to the TV then mounts back in the wall where it's stationed by. They just screw into the wall. They recommend it gets screwed into the wall stud or something solid so if the TV does get tipped or start to fall that cable will hold it in place  and not allow to fall forward onto an adult, the floor, or to a child."

The CPSC encourages people to remove tempting objects, things like toys or remotes from the tops of dresser to keep kids from climbing. 

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