NEW INNOVATIONS HELP PREVENT TIP-OVER ACCIDENTS

The number of injuries to children related to furniture tipping over increased more than 40% from 1990-2007, according to a clinical study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy, the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, and the Department of Pediatrics, Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus. The study also shows that televisions were the most common item of furniture associated with injury among children under nine years of age; about half (50.6%) of injuries to children under four years old resulted from a television falling on them.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that between 2000 and 2006 there were at least 180 deaths related to furniture, television or appliance tip-over. Eighty percent of these deaths involved children younger than 10. The Commission’s data also shows that in 2006 there were 19,300 injuries associated with product instability or tip-over involving children younger than 10.

With consumer safety as a design cornerstone, companies that produce home entertainment furniture have developed new tools to help eliminate the hazards of today’s larger-than-ever flat panel electronics tipping over.   Ranging from brackets and posts to more sophisticated devices that solve safety, visibility and design issues, the furniture industry has taken a decidedly pro-active approach which is paying off for consumers.  Although study data for the past two years has not been published yet, some companies are seeing immediate anecdotal information that indicates certain products have made a significant difference.  Michigan-based Sligh Furniture Company, a manufacturer of home entertainment consoles, cabinets and wall units, developed and introduced the StrongArm® television mounting device in 2007.  The company reports that since the StrongArm has been on the market there have been no reported cases of TV tip-over where the device was in use. The bracket attaches to the company’s television consoles securing the TV from tip-over.  The component also articulates left or right 10 degrees to reduce sun glare, is height adjustable and accommodates TVs up to 200 pounds with screens up to 60”.

“Creating a safe home environment should be straightforward,” said Rob Sligh, the company’s chairman.  “Consumers should expect that their furniture and devices are engineered and built with safety as their highest priority, and that rigorous testing ensures it performs as promised.  Everything else follows from that.” 

However, not all mounting products are created equal as evidenced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall of approximately 131,000 television wall mounts last week.  The voluntary recall was instituted because the wall mount’s arm components do not fit together properly, causing the attached television to tilt and possibly fall when the television is adjusted, according to a CPSC release.  “You should discuss your needs with a knowledgeable salesperson, ask for an in-store demonstration, test the stability yourself, and trust your eyes and hands,” says Sligh, meaning if the product seems unstable or flimsy, it probably is. 

With TVs weighing anywhere from 50 to 200 pounds, consumers should look for mounting devices made with high-grade steel parts that fit snugly together and bracket securely to furniture made specifically to hold the weight and dimensions of today’s electronics.  Various websites can help consumers determine the proper furniture and securing mechanisms for their TVs.  Furniture stores audio-video specialty retailers are good resources for information and will likely have one or more mounting solutions available for demonstration and inspection.  With a little homework and a smart selection or two, your expensive TV will stay where you want it and your family will be safe and injury-free.

For more information on Sligh Furniture and their StrongArm device, please visit, www.sligh.com.


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