CPSC Reacts to Tip-Over Hazard Phenomenon


The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced a new educational campaign aimed at preventing furniture and television tip-over injuries and deaths.  According to the CPSC announcement, the program, dubbed “Anchor It!,” is designed to educate the public of the “hidden” dangers of tip-overs and to instruct on steps for tip-over prevention. “Anchor It!” consists of broadcast public service announcements, print ads, billboards, and an informational website (www.AnchorIt.gov).  In addition, the CPSC will distribute tip-over prevention cards containing the following helpful tips:

  • Buy and install low-cost anchoring devices to prevent TVs, dressers, bookcases or other furniture from tipping.
  • Avoid leaving items, such as remote controls and toys, in places where kids might be tempted to climb up to reach for them.
  • Store heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers.
  • Place TVs on a sturdy, low base and push them as far back as possible, particularly if anchoring is not possible.
  • If purchasing a new TV, consider recycling older ones not currently used. If moving the older TV to another room, be sure it is anchored properly to the wall.

If these tips seem simple and obvious, it is because they are.  With the exception of the availability of anchoring devices, these tips are simply a reiteration of the laws of physics and gravity.  It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in Physics to understand what it means to be “top-heavy.”  Anyone who has ever stacked items on top of each other or driven an ’84 Ford Bronco II understands this.  Yet, the CPSC commissioned “Anchor It!” to make sure you really understand.  Bravo.

Nonetheless, we here at Abnormal Use actually applaud the CPSC’s efforts.  The program comes on the heels of a new lawsuit against IKEA alleging that Swedish furniture chain failed to warn of potential furniture tip-over.  (However, we assume the CPSC wheels were turning on the “Anchor It!” program long before.)  Typically, we would have expected the CPSC to take draconian measures in reaction to the IKEA suit and issue a recall for all vertical furniture (see, e.g. Buckyballs).  Fortunately, in this instance, the CPSC has elected to educate consumers on the exercise of common sense to prevent tip-over hazards rather than needlessly yank products from the stream of commerce.

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