We all have furniture around the house that can pose falling hazards for our children. Heck, IKEA had to recall a dresser line because of eight child deaths associated with a tip-over. It’s actually quite horrific to think about…
The CPSC launched a whole campaign dedicated to this issue — AnchorIt! — in 2015. In the last 15 years or so, there were almost 16,000 tip-over related ER visits among children, and more than 430 deaths. By far, the most likely items to fall are furniture and televisions – appliances (i.e., ranges) were a far-distant third.
The goods news is: the solutions are EASY. Hang in there, we’re almost done…
Tall, top-heavy furniture items pose the biggest danger to little ones.
Walk around your home to various furniture items, then get on your knees and try to pull the item down from the top. Remember that kids can get aggressively curious or climb up on furniture (using the drawers like steps, etc.), so if you have ANY doubts, you should secure it to the wall. Don’t forget about spaces like your garage or basement, where tall shelves are abundant.
To eliminate the risk of falling furniture or TVs, the easiest solution is to install “L brackets,” or furniture anchors. These are all pretty generic, and you’ll definitely be able to get them at your local hardware store – or here on Amazon.
Furniture brackets, or L brackets, are the cheapest, simplest option, and most people are very happy with them. They don’t allow for any wiggle room (literally). Just scoop some up at the hardware store and install them, like so (yes, you’ll have to drill your furniture).
Furniture anchors are a more durable, advanced option for securing. They tend to come in either a wire form or a strap (fabric form). New furniture, such as dressers, are sold with anti-tip devices. Install them right away.
All stand-alone ranges should also be secured with an anti-tip device, as kids tend to climb up on open oven doors and use it as a step — and always when your back is turned!
Best Furniture Anchors
The benefit of a proper furniture anchor is not having to drill or deface the top of your furniture, which most people don’t want to do. The exception to this is when you have an extremely tall piece of furniture that you’ll never see the top of anyway.
The most dependable furniture anchor is probably the Hangman Anti-Tip Kit (~$9 for 1; $22 for 4):
The Hangman Anti-Tip Kit can withstand up to 400 pounds of resistance; reviewers rave about it. It’s discreet, works very well, and is easy to set up. If you need something ultra heavy-duty, this is your best option.
You can watch the full installation demo here — note that you do have to screw a hole through the back of your furniture to install it correctly.
A similar choice would be QuakeHold! Steel Furniture Cables (~$6):
It’s made out of aircraft cable (impressive, right?) and designed to withstand earthquakes and windstorms (oh, and also toddlers).
Another option is a furniture strap, like these KidCo Anti-Tip Straps (~$6):
Almost everyone agrees that the KidCo straps get the job done (actually, so much so that many users complain they’re difficult to remove if/when the time comes). Parents love them for being inexpensive, effective, and easy to use. That said, these aren’t technically guaranteed against any specific weight (like the Hangman Anti-Tip Kit, above), and the materials are obviously less structurally reliable (plastic vs. steel, c’mon).
You’ll probably “know” which kind of anchors you need based on how heavy your furniture is and your own child’s tendencies. Although they’re not officially the “best” according to the pros, we really like the simple L brackets because they’re inexpensive and easy (the pragmatic solution gets bonus points in our book).
We also like that L brackets don’t allow furniture to tip at all, or drawers to fly open/out (see below). **No matter which method you use, make sure to follow the installation directions to a T and find a stud.
Best TV Straps
You should also get special straps designed to hold TVs on top of TV stands. *You should anchor your television even if it’s standing on a piece of anchored furniture, btw.
The QuakeHold! Universal Flat Screen Safety Straps get rave reviews; they work for flat screens up to 70” and 150 lbs.
These are nice because they don’t require screws, and tons of users say their TVs have survived some pretty nasty earthquakes.
KidCo makes one of these too — the KidCo Anti-Tip TV Strap (~$8):
At the 2018 JPMA show, we also liked the furniture straps from Qdos — they can fasten to the wall without screws!
Note that these can withstand up to 150 pounds — this is plenty for most homes, but if you have a super-heavy shelf, or three or more kids running around/climbing, you might want something with a little more oomph.
OK! Anchors away ; )