There are 2 groups of people that should absolutely anchor their furniture to the walls. The first group lives in areas that are prone to the terrifying shakes and jolts produced by the unbelievably powerful, home-destroying, natural force of earthquakes. The second group has kids.
It’s telling that both kids and earthquakes have a destructive potential that would require the same protection. But as a parent you know, deep down, that this is true. Particularly considering how many times you’ve been tempted to call FEMA after a play date. So if you haven’t done it yet, you need to make anchoring furniture part of your childproofing plan.
Okay, sure, your kid has never shown an interest in climbing your furniture. And you have plenty of friends that never anchored their furniture and their kids are still alive and kicking. While that’s some fine detective work, Lou, there are agencies keeping track of real world data. This, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- A child dies, on average, every 2 weeks from being crushed by a TV or furniture
- Every 30 minutes a kid receives emergency care due to tipped furniture or a falling TV
- 91 percent of tip-over fatalities occur in the home
- 46 percent of those occur in a bedroom
- In 2016, 26 million chests and dressers were recalled for failing to meet the requirements of voluntary industry no-tip standards.
But you? You may still need something to really drive home the fact you need to secure your furniture. So check out this cringe-inducing video of 2-year-old twins miraculously escaping a tipped dresser. Then, after you’ve hugged your kid (because, holy crap) check out the following anchoring advice.
Down With Temptation
First off, there is one thing you can do right at this moment that does not require any kind of drilling or furniture moving. That thing is to simply remove the objects that your kid might want to climb.
After all, your natural inclination as a parent is to put stuff out of reach. That’s particularly true for stuff they desperately want, but you don’t want them to have. Instead of putting the candy, or toy, or sharp, shiny object up on a high shelf, disappear it into a container. Put it someplace they can’t see it. Take away the temptation to climb.
If, however, they’re a protege of Sir Edmund Hillary and want to climb furniture “because it’s there,” you’ll need to amp it up. And also restrict their access to sherpas.
If you didn’t anchor furniture and TVs when you first brought them home (and pre-baby, why would you), you’ll want to grab your tool box and head to the hardware store. Like you needed an excuse.
There’s a wide variety of aftermarket anti-tipping hardware out there. In fact, this well-tested list is pretty solid. But whatever you buy, you’ll want to follow manufacturer’s instructions. That said, there are a few tips that will help you out:
- Anchor to studs by making use of a stud finder (bonus points if you hold it up to yourself and proclaim, “Must be working!”)
- For every piece of furniture you anchor, use at least 2 straps or anchors
- Make sure the point of contact on the furniture is solid wood. A thin piece of veneer isn’t going to save your kid
- Make sure there is no slack in your anchor or strap
- Mount flat screen TVs to a wall, out of reach
- If you aren’t mounting your TV, make sure you use a sturdy TV stand and anchor the TV to the wall with straps. This will also keep you from throwing it out the window during playoff games.
A Final Note On Excuses
There are plenty of reasons you could convince yourself that your furniture does not need anchoring, including: it’s too heavy, your kid is old enough to know better, they never play in your bedroom, the drawers are latched and it’s a true piece of quality workmanship. These are all myths.
The fact is that your kid is a little earthquake waiting to happen. But unlike an earthquake, you can stop their destruction before it happens.