Safe Kids Fox Valley offers guidelines to prevent tip-overs and entrapment
01 / 26 / 2006
Maria Nelson, Media Relations
Affinity Health System
(920) 554-0686 (pager)
MENASHA, Wis. – News that a 4-year-old Oshkosh girl died earlier this week when a 27-inch television fell on her is tragic; however, it is not that uncommon, says the coordinator of Safe Kids Fox Valley.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 8,000 to 10,000 people – mostly children – each year go to the emergency room with injuries from furniture tipping over, and approximately six are killed. Kids can be seriously injured or killed as a result of climbing on shelves, bookcases, dressers, TV tables and other furniture.
“This is a tragic reminder to everyone not to underestimate the possibility of small children being crushed by unsteady furniture,” says Lisa Voss, Safe Kids Fox Valley coordinator.
“If a piece of furniture is top-heavy or unstable, fasten it to a wall using angle braces or anchors,” Voss says. “Keep heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers.”
Televisions, stereos or favorite toys sitting on a table or stand might entice a child to reach for the top and pull down the object, the stand or both. “Tie up loose cords, too. A child pulling on an electrical cord, or tripping on one, could pull an appliance off a stand,” Voss says.
In response to several child fatalities from furniture-related head injuries, Reps. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., James McGovern, D-Mass., and Danny Davis, D-Ill., introduced legislation to require that any furniture in danger of tipping over carry a warning label and be sold with anchoring devices and instructions.
Kids are also in danger of suffocation if they become accidentally trapped in a cabinet, toy chest or laundry machine. There are also at least 45 known cases since 1975 in which a child has been trapped and strangled under the lid of a toy chest. Always supervise children around any confined space and keep the doors closed and locked, Voss recommends.
“These are not hazards that kill thousands of children every year, like vehicle crashes or drowning, but they are preventable and the consequences can be so severe,” Voss says.
Affinity Health System is a regional leader in trauma safety and prevention programs, offering a number of training and safety programs, from hunter safety to advanced life support. Safe Kids Fox Valley is sponsored by Affinity Health System and works to prevent childhood injuries through collaboration, education, policy and advocacy initiatives. For additional injury prevention information, call Safe Kids Fox Valley at (920) 720-1274.
For the Editor:
Affinity Health System, a faith-based regional health care network, is the Fox Valley’s second-largest employer, according to the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry. For the fourth consecutive year, Affinity has been named one of the nation’s top 64 health systems based on clinical performance according to Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of health care. For ten consecutive years, Affinity Health System has been named to the SDI (formerly Verispan) Integrated Health Network Top 100, an annual assessment of the 100 most highly integrated health care networks in the nation. Both St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton and Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh rank among the top 1 percent of hospitals nationwide in terms of quality and efficiency, as determined by the 2007 Premier | CareScience Select practice National Quality Award. Members of Affinity include Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Health Foundation, Oshkosh; St. Elizabeth Hospital and the St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, Appleton; Affinity Medical Group, a regional network of 25 family practice and specialty clinics – 22 of which are recognized as NCQA Level III medical homes, the highest level of recognition – in 14 communities; Calumet Medical Center, Chilton; and Affinity Occupational Health.