Watching the Super Bowl? Beware of tip-over risk

Photo By SafeKids screenshot

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As many Americans prepare to purchase new TVs ahead of the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 11, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released new data that shows tip-over incidents land thousands of children in emergency rooms every year; with children also representing 71 percent of fatalities associated with this hazard.

The report, which focuses on injuries and fatalities that result from furniture, TV, and appliance tip-over incidents, shows that 17,800 people annually are injured in these incidents. Of that number, children under age 18 suffered 44 percent of injuries, amounting to a child being treated in an emergency department (ED-treated) every 53 minutes.

Incident disparities among certain demographics, particularly Black non-Hispanics, persist where race /ethnicity is known. Among the 137 reported child fatalities from January 2013 through July 2023, Black non-Hispanic children accounted for 32 percent of those deaths while only comprising about 14 percent of the U.S. population of children. 

And, from 2020 to 2022, among the ED-treated injuries to adults ages 18 years to 59 years, Black non-Hispanic adults accounted for 32 percent of those injuries despite making up only 13 percent of the U.S. population.

In addition, the number of tip-over injuries impacting older adults (those aged 60+) has been on the rise, as the estimated number of ED-treated injuries involving furniture-only tip-overs has steadily grown over the past decade from 1,800 in 2013 to 4,300 in 2022.

Other key findings include: 

  • Of the 217 reported tip-over fatalities from 2013 through July 2023 to all ages, 47 percent involved a television, and 55 percent involved children between 1 and 3 years old;
  • Of the estimated annual average 17,800 ED-treated injuries from 2020-2022 to all ages, 82 percent involved furniture, and 22 percent involved children between 1 and 3 years old.

“Furniture and TV tip-overs remain a significant safety hazard in American households,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric. “The data show that tip-overs pose a specific risk to children, and that African American communities are disproportionately injured and die as a result of this hazard."

 While CPSC adopted a new mandatory rule under the STURDY Act last year to hold furniture manufacturers to a higher safety standard, Hoehn-Saric said that consumers should take action in their own homes by installing anti-tip-over kits -- especially as they look ahead to the big game on Sunday, which is a popular time for large family gatherings that can include children.”

As of September 1, 2023 and beyond, all newly manufactured clothing storage furniture must meet updated safety criteria; however CPSC recommends that all clothing storage furniture, regardless of when manufactured or purchased, should be anchored and secured to prevent tragedy.



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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).