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Safety Alert: UL Warns About TV, Large Furniture Tip-Over Dangers

February 23, 2012


NORTHBROOK, Ill., February 23, 2012 - Following the recent fatalities due to accidents involving TV tip-overs, families and caregivers are reminded that we can all do something to safeguard our homes and take steps to prevent similar tragedies.

On average, one child dies every two weeks when a TV, piece of furniture or appliance falls on the child, according to reports received by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) between 2000 and 2010. What's more, the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital reports that nearly 40 children visit emergency rooms each day with injuries after a heavy piece of furniture has fallen on them. Half of those injuries are directly related to TV tip-overs.

UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a global safety organization, is dedicated to raising the awareness of the perils of falling TVs. When it comes to children's safety, the most common tip-over scenarios involve toddlers. About 70 percent of children's fatalities involved young children and falling TVs that have been climbed onto, fallen against or pulled while resting on unstable furniture.

"This is not as uncommon as people might think, sadly," says John Drengenberg, consumer safety director at UL. The global safety science organization has been writing the requirements and testing TVs for electric shock, fire and mechanical hazards since televisions became commercially available and is reminding parents and caregivers to safeguard against potential furniture and TV tip-overs. "The reality is that taking a few simple steps around your home can make a huge difference in safeguarding against an unfortunate accident."

When installing a TV for the first time or relocating an existing TV within the home, UL strongly recommends the use of stands either specifically recommended by the TV manufacturer or specifically designed to support the size and weight of the TV.

Other UL guidelines for placing TVs on furniture include:

  • Make sure that furniture is stable on its own.
  • Make sure that furniture with the TV is stable after the TV is placed on the furniture.
  • For added security, anchor the furniture to the floor or attach the entertainment center or TV stand to the wall using appropriate hardware, such as brackets, screws or toggles.
  • Push TVs as far back as possible from the front of its stand. The TV should never overhang the edges of the furnishing.
  • Remove items that might tempt kids to climb, like toys and remote controls, from the top of TVs and tall furniture.
  • Place electrical cords and cables out of a child's reach and teach them not to play with cords.
  • Place TVs on sturdy furniture appropriate for its size.

In addition to testing TVs for safety, UL also tests the wall-mounting hardware and carts and stands to support the TV. Homeowners must mount or secure the TVs in accordance with the installation instructions supplied with the product.  Because manufacturers use the UL Mark to signify that the equipment meets rigorous safety requirements, always check for the UL Mark when purchasing mounting hardware.

To learn more valuable safety information about preventing accidents at home, please visit