Natural Handyman's Links Library section header
Natural Handyman's Home Page Home repair articles and do it yourself tips Home repair contests at Sweepstakes Central Do it yourself books on a variety of home repair topics Tools Natural Handyman's Question and Answer archives Find a handyman or contractor for those small home repair jobs Select links to home repair and do it yourself products and services Advertising options on the Natural Handyman website Comments and questions

Install "Anti-Tip" Devices on Furniture... A Life-Saving Home Improvement!

Add this important repair to your "Spring Cleaning Checklist"!

Spring is a time for family vacations during the break, florals to finally bloom and more time spent playing outside. It also is a time when families declutter from the winter and embark on their spring cleaning and home improvement projects. So, as you make your spring cleaning check list, I urge you to consider a project that can provide major home safety changes with minimal effort: anchoring your TVs and furniture.  

But why do you need to anchor your TVs and furniture?

Because every 30 minutes a child in the U.S. is injured from a TV or furniture tip-over incident.

Because of this alarming static, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launched the Anchor It! campaign to ensure parents and caregivers are aware of these hidden dangers in the home, and recently unveiled a new report with some surprising findings on these incidents.

Specifically, the report looked at how these injuries happen inside the home and found that the majority (83.5 percent) of TV falls occurred when a child climbed on furniture where a TV was sitting on top.

Anti-tip kit from Hangman
The Hangman Anti-Tip kit in action

What do we mean by climbing?

Children are naturally curious and climb to pull or stand on a drawer or shelf, usually to reach the TV or other items on top of the furniture. Bulky tube TVs are more prone to tip-overs because they are heavier in the front. And when they fall, the heavy TVs can fall with the force of up to 12,000 pounds! Additionally, the report found that more than 90 percent of incidents involved CRT TVs!

Fortunately, newer dressers are sold with anti-tip devices and flat-panel TVs have pre-drilled holes for anchoring. Anchoring furniture and TVs is easy, inexpensive and only takes a few minutes.

Steps to take that DON'T require anchoring

These steps are simple and, frankly, common sense ways to protect yourself and your children from falling furniture and TV's:

  1. Avoid displaying or storing items, such as toys and remotes, in places where kids might be tempted to climb up to reach for them.
  2. If purchasing a new TV, consider recycling older ones not currently used. If moving the older TV to another room, be sure it is anchored properly to the wall.
  3. Store heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers.
  4. TVs should always be placed on a sturdy, low base and pushed as far back as possible, particularly if anchoring is not possible.

If you need to anchor your TV or furniture, use your handyman "creativity" or install and after-market anti-tip device!

Here are some solutions that may work for you:

1) Screw tall, potentially hazardous furniture to the wall

This is the easiest way to secure tall bookshelves or cabinets. Find a wood stud in the wall by tapping or using an electronic of magnetic stud finder, Predrill a small hole inside the cabinet or bookshelf towards the top (ideally in a position that will not be visible) that aligns with the stud and install a screw.

Potential problems with this method:
1) If you have carpetting, you may find that the cabinet will be damaged as the cabinet settles and compesses the carpet
2) If the cabinet has a very flimsy back you may need to add additional wood to reinforce it

2) Purchase an anti-tip kit

Aftermarket anti-tip kits come in many flavors. Most use either a cable or strap to secure the furniture. One end of the device is attached to the cabinet and the other end to the wall. These systems allow some movement so you can easily connect or disconnet the cabinet from the wall. Plus they eliminate the issue of possible cabinet damage from directly screwing the cabinet to the wall if you have carpetting.

Anti-Tip Furniture and TV Straps kit

Potential problems with this method: DO NOT put a heavy, unsecured device such as a television on a cabinet that is secured by these devices (without additional tip-over protection for the TV), because the slight movement required for installation can be enough to cause the TV to fall forward should a child climb on the cabinet or bookshelf! Secure both for safety!

Not convinced you need to secure your TV's and furniture? Watch this truly horrifying video from CPSC. (Have the volume up and try not to scream!)

There are also some tips on installing anti-tip device on TV's and furniture. Enjoy.

Note: We thank the CPSC for allowing us to use some of their material in this article, as well as Amazon.com for some images.