Mom works to prevent dangerous tip-overs in homes after daughter killed by fallen dresser

How to protect loved ones from furniture, TVs tipping over

Whether it’s a big screen TV or a piece of furniture in your child’s bedroom, tip-over dangers are real and send thousands to the hospital every year.

These dangers can easily be prevented, but it’s important for households to be vigilant and proactive to prevent any injuries.

Kimberly Amato is no stranger to the dangers of furniture tipping over. She still vividly remembers the day that her 3-year-old daughter Meghan died.

“It happened while the rest of our family was asleep,” Amato said.

Meghan was doing what kids do: She was climbing on the furniture in her bedroom when her dresser fell on top of her, killing her.

“We think that she was probably trying to climb, or perhaps was standing in the bottom drawer, and because the dresser fell onto her body onto a carpeted floor, if it made a sound, it wasn’t loud enough to wake us,” Amato said.

The little girl’s death was devastating and preventable.

Since the tragic event, Amato has been working to get the word out about tip-over dangers. The mother created the organization Meghan’s Hope to help raise awareness.

She is also a founding member of Parents Against Tip-Overs, and works closely with groups like the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to inform people about these dangers.

“As I held her for the last time in the emergency room that day, I made her a promise,” Amato said. “The promise was that I was not gonna let this happen to anyone else. And I don’t want to stop until that’s a reality.”

The CPSC tracks tip-over dangers and incidents.

“We have the Super Bowl coming up, the Olympics ... so we wanted to let people know of this hidden danger in the household, something that can happen really quickly, which is televisions or furniture tipping over,” said Alex Hoehn-Saric, chair of the CPSC.

The dangers are real -- and the numbers are shocking.

“We’re still having over 22,500 emergency room visits as a result of tip-overs,” Hoehn-Saric said. “Since 2000, that’s meant over 580 deaths.”

So, what can you do to prevent this from happening in your home?

“We are urging parents and caregivers to go out there and get these anchoring kits. You can find them at hardware stores for under $20, takes about 20 minutes to install,” Hoehn-Saric said. “It’s very important just to make sure that these hidden hazards, that can happen really quickly, don’t happen.”

Related: ‘Anchor it’: Tips to protect children from furniture, TVs tipping over

Parents like Amato know how quickly this can all play out, which is why she’s so focused on making sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“I don’t want any family to ever know the pain that we do,” Amato said. “This is something that, literally, $20, 20 minutes to purchase and install an anchoring kit could have saved her life, and it can save your child, too.”

The CPSC is urging all adults to take the following precautions:

  • Anchor TVs and furniture, such as bookcases and dressers, securely to the wall.
  • Always place TVs on a sturdy, low base, and push the TV back as far as possible, particularly if anchoring is not possible.
  • Avoid displaying or storing items, such as toys and remotes, where kids may be tempted to climb to reach for them.
  • Store heavier items on lower shelves, or in lower drawers.
  • If purchasing a new TV, consider recycling older ones not currently in use. If moving the older TV to another room, be sure it is anchored to the wall properly.
  • Keep TV and cable cords out of reach of children.
  • Even when TVs and furniture are anchored, adult supervision is still recommended.

Learn more from the CPSC online here.

Related: How to complete safety checks for babies at home

About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4’s Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV’s “Help Me Hank” Consumer Unit. Hank works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off people in our community.