A few weeks ago, a tragedy at a Payless ShoeSource claimed the life of a toddler. You may have heard about the well-publicized story, in which a wall mirror fell on top of the girl when she was shopping with her mother; she later died of her injuries. Investigators determined the company had not ensured proper mounting of the mirror on the wall. You and other Wisconsin parents are very cautious about keeping your homes safe for your young children, but there are some common dangers that you may not be aware of.
When you childproofed your home, you probably blocked unused electrical outlets and put locks on cabinet doors that contained harmful objects. While these are certainly effective and responsible safety measures, you might have missed other hazards. Did you know, for example, that a child is seen in a U.S. hospital every 45 minutes due to a television set falling on top of him or her? It may be easy to think that modern flat-screen TVs are not dangerous, but they are heavy, and a child can easily topple one if you do not properly secure it. Safety authorities recommend that parents secure their televisions to the wall with strong brackets or position them on cabinets that a child cannot pull over, out of reach.
You may take the following steps to keep other heavy and bulky household items from harming your child:
- Secure tall dressers, cabinets, aquariums and other heavy furniture to wall studs.
- Hang heavy or bulky mirrors and picture frames with multiple screws or nails to ensure they do not fall.
- Do not let cords dangle where a child can reach and use them to pull heavy appliances over the edge of the counter.
- Keep large decorative items that children may easily tip over, such as stone or glass vases, off low tables or out of their reach.
These same dangers can become a premises liability issue if they are not addressed in places your child visits, such as a friend’s home, daycare or school.