When we started having kids, we baby-proofed everything we could think of; the cabinets, the table edges, the fireplace hearth, the electrical outlets. Everything. At the top of the list, though, was adding anchoring straps to secure all heavy furniture to the walls (dressers, bookshelves and the like), preventing them from tipping over on the children. We’ve all heard horror stories of poor little babies getting trapped under the fallen dresser or television. If you haven’t, please Google and educate yourself. It’s a terrible thing. A terrible, terrible thing. But preventable.
“Thus far, the numbers of small children injured and killed by furniture and television tip-over is only climbing. 71 children every single day are injured or killed when a piece of furniture, a TV, or an appliance falls on them. A child dies on average every 2 weeks. Every 45 minutes a child is seen in the ER because a TV fell on them. The children that survive these accidents may be left with severe and debilitating lifelong injuries. ALL of them can be prevented.” (Quoted from Megan’s Hope)
Many pieces of furniture (at least, from children’s stores) even come with anchoring straps and instructions for installation. If they don’t, they are easily found in-store and online. HERE, HERE and HERE for instance. They are ridiculously inexpensive and easy to install. A few dollars and a few minutes to save your child’s life. No-brainer.
Seeing as we were on top of these things, imagine my surprise when, the other day, I heard a loud crash and subsequent blood-curdling scream come from our playroom. I immediately knew it was my daughter (3) and instantly, my heart skipped a beat. I yelled for my husband and we ran to the playroom to find our little girl in hysterics, on the floor, underneath her play kitchen. (You know the kind; the adorable, retro-looking, wooden play kitchen).
She must have been playing with it a bit more rigorously than it’s design allowed and it fell over on top of her, pinning her underneath. Daddy whipped it off of her with such force, he actually tore the wood on the top of the kitchen.
We calmed her, checked for injuries and luckily, she’s just fine. She was complaining of her hand hurting, but thankfully she walked away from the incident just a little bruised and a lot scared. She’ll recover. (Daddy may not).
Why had it not occurred to us to fasten this piece to the wall? Because it’s a play thing? It’s heavy; it weighs 50 lbs when it’s empty (I checked) let-alone filled with all the wooden food items our kids love. All I kept thinking about was, what if it had been the baby?! He might not have been so lucky and we would have never forgiven ourselves.
I looked on the manufacturer’s website, searching for safety instructions and it indicates that it comes with an enclosed wall anchor kit. However, we purchased the kitchen from an online daily deals site a year and a half ago (not directly from the manufacturer), and if I recall, it arrived missing a few parts needed for assembly. We did have to contact the manufacturer at that time, directly, for those missing parts, which they sent. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if the safety straps were left out, as well, and we just didn’t know that they needed to be included. I’m fairly confident that if they HAD been included, we would have installed them.
But, that’s neither here nor there. The fact is that even play furniture needs to be considered when baby proofing for little ones and should be secured to the wall. Lesson learned. And maybe our oversight will prompt you to check your own kiddos’ play things for safety.
(This has been a public service announcement).