BABY PROOFING- Don’t forget the furniture!

We hear about baby proofing all the time, and when we talk about it most people's minds go to the most common items such as oven doors, outlets, Stove handles, cabinets, doors and even toilets. Unfortunately, a commonly overlooked baby proofing item is furniture…YES, furniture!


I am a facts and data kind of person, so I want to discuss the statistics first to help illustrate why this is such an important step in baby proofing. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) February 2022 Tip-Over Injuries report, there were an annual average of 22,500 emergency department treated injuries between 2018-2022, and 581 fatalities between 2000 and 2020. Of those 22,500 injuries 10,000 were from children under 18 years old and of the 581 fatalities 472 were children under 18. A few tools and a safety strap under $8 can save your child’s life. (2020 Tip-Over Report (cpsc.gov))


Back in 2009 I had a close encounter with what could have been a tragic incident and all the furniture in my home got anchored that weekend. My kids were about three and I took a shower while they were peacefully napping- or so I thought. Moments after I got in the shower, two of my three kids came flying in my room screaming incoherently about their brother…I had never run so fast in my life. I was one of the lucky moms...due to the fact that all three kids shared a small room and had three toddler beds and two dressers crammed into it, the dresser tipped over onto my son, but the brunt of the weight was supported by the side of his sisters little toddler bed. The tall dresser did hit him on the way down and he fell to the floor, but it didn't crush him. Prior to this incident, I didn't know anything about securing furniture- I didn't know that it was even something I should worry about. It never, ever EVER occurred to me that in their exploration of their world, their cute curiosity and mischievous toddler behavior, that they would think to climb on things. They'd never really been climbers. I knew friends who had “climbers” but I was of the mindset that my kids just didn’t do that. Trust me folks, your kids aren’t climbers- until they ARE. Since that incident, I have been a HUGE advocate of safety straps for furniture. Even those short, long dressers that seem low enough to the ground that they shouldn't cause an issue- ANCHOR THEM. Or lightweight furniture that likely isn't going to crush a toddler (but certainly has the potential to cause serious harm on its way crashing to the ground)- ANCHOR IT. Also, if your TV sits on a stand-ANCHOR IT!

Items you will need

1. Stud Finder if you intend to drill into the studs

2. Optional: Measuring tape for spacing on the wall to match spacing on the furniture (or this is a more basic option)

3. Optional: An Awl tool to determine you’re in the stud before you drill

4. Pencil

5. Heavy duty self-drilling toggle anchor if you’re not drilling into a stud

6. Drill and drill bits

7. Screwdriver

8. Furniture safety straps

On this long dresser I used 3 safety straps. I have always found it easiest to locate the studs in the wall first that cover the area where you want to place the furniture. These straps are also compatible with self-drilling toggle anchors, but that is sold separately, and I would recommend placement into a stud when at all possible.



STEPS

1. Locate your stud with the stud finder and mark it with your pencil. This is likely going to be the area where you will drill the wall side of the furniture strap. (If you are NOT using a stud due to it not lining up with where you want your furniture to be located, make sure you use an anchor into the wall.)

2. Line your furniture up to where you want to place it, and mark where you are going to drill the furniture anchor into the back of the furniture. This can be straight across from where you will drill the anchor into the wall, or at a slight angle.

3. Determine the height on the wall of where you will drill your hole for the wall side of the furniture strap, based on the height of the furniture you are securing. You want to make sure you have slack left to pull in your furniture safety strap, so don’t secure it to the wall too low. Likewise, don’t secure it too high or you won’t be able to pull the strap tight.

4. Once you’ve lined the furniture up with where you want it on the wall and lined up where you’ll be drilling into the wall and into the furniture, you can begin the drilling.

5. I usually drill into the furniture first, and make sure it lines up again with my markings on the wall, and then drill into the wall.

6. Separate the wall side and the furniture side of the safety strap after you drill into the furniture.

7. Drill into the wall with the wall side of the furniture strap, connect the two straps back together and tighten.

There should be a little give if you are to tug on the top of the furniture and try to pull it forward/over.


We used to have a TV that sat on a stand, and that TV is also one of the things that got anchored the weekend of the dresser incident. I wanted to be able to turn the TV from side to side still, so the solution I found was to secure the TV stand to the wall, and then secure the TV to the TV stand.


I used the same methods and Furniture safety straps above to secure the TV stand to the wall. Then I used two TV safety straps to secure the TV itself to the TV stand. (Ignore the blankets, I placed them there so the straps would be visible)

Another area of childproofing that is commonly overlooked is the kitchen. Many parents opt for the common childproofing items in the kitchen such as outlets. But stove knobs, garbage disposal switch covers, refrigerator locks, and cupboard locks can prevent major injuries as well! Don’t forget about things like entry sensors for doors and windows- they can let you know when a door or window is opened. These are such an important safety measure in our home as we have an escapee RUNNER! We have a second set of these entry sensors for traveling and utilize these command hanging strips to install them without ruining paint/walls.


We had serious concerns about our second-floor windows, so I did a lot of research and went with a company called Guardian Angel Window Guards for all of the second floor windows in our home. They had amazing customer service that walked me through measuring my respective windows, as I was second guessing the instructions online (turns out their instructions were great and I was accurate, but that self-doubt can be a pain!). I wanted something that my ridiculously strong toddler could not open or overcome but would still allow entry or exit by an adult or emergency personnel. This product gave me all I needed to ensure none of my children could open these second story windows on their own!


Safehome.org’s annual childproofing report from 2022 indicates that almost 40% of parents participating in the survey indicated that their child’s injury could have been avoided had they taken proper childproofing precautions. Take care not to fall into that percentage of parents who have regrets about not childproofing and pay no mind to anyone who tells you its not necessary. No two children are alike and it’s important that we as parents take all the steps necessary to limit a child’s access to causing injury to themselves or others!


- Julie P. (Mom of 6)



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