Friday, January 18, 2013

Furniture safety

I read a blog post recently, that someone had posted the link to on facebook, and by the time I was, oh, two paragraphs in, there were tears.  It was one of the hardest things I had to read: a mom losing her 3 year old daughter after she pulled her dresser over on herself.  In this post, 8 years after the fact, she speaks about her passion for educating others to secure their furniture  even the pieces that you don't think can be pulled over.  It's not only toddlers that can die via falling furniture, kids can, too.  And, physics is a cruel master ("Gravity, it's the law! ~Adam Savage, mythbuster extraordinaire): levers are wonderful things when you want something to move (think crowbars....or butter knives improperly used).  However, they work both ways: they can help move things you'd rather not want moved.  Some famous dead dude (Archimedes) said given a long enough lever, he could move the world.  So, even though little ones are little, it's amazing what the leverage of a pulled out drawer can do.

The author went on to say that she gets quite annoyed when people who know of her story still have the "it can't happen to me" attitude, and have unsecured furniture.  After reading this, I vowed to go home (we were in Charlotte at the time) and bolt all movable furniture to the walls: her dresser, the entertainment center, her bookshelf (the big ones are already bolted to the walls), etc.  However, I have to admit it didn't happen immediately.  Life got in the way.  But, she's pulling up on everything, and I was afraid she'd try her dresser sooner than later, with potential bad things happening.  So, I am proud to report that her dresser is now secure!  I tested it with my full weight, on the far edge, and no movement occurred   I am happy with that (I'm no featherweight, so supporting my full weight means something).

Here's how we chose to do it, anybody that has bitties in their house NEEDS to secure their furniture (yes, even if it's too big/tall/short/heavy to fall over).

Step one:  go to a hardware store (or, I'm sure your local Wally World may have these) and purchase 1.5" (minimum) "L" shaped brackets.  Depending on your needs, get one or more bracket per side.  Luckily, these suckers generally come in packs of two.  Also depending on needs, you may want to get longer sides.  But, be careful that there's not an inner "curve", otherwise it may not sit flush with your furniture (see exhibit A, side the left below...if the inner side was curved, I couldn't sit the dresser flush with the bracket)

Side the left: Attached this way due to location of dresser and molding for the closet.

Side the right: attached this way for two reasons: less measuring for me, and I could.

It's easier to attach both brackets to the furniture first, then shove it up against the wall and attach to the wall.  However, due to space restrictions, you may have to attach to the wall first, then to furniture.  Measure carefully if this is the case.  Also, be aware of any sharp corners when placing the brackets.  Lastly, aim for studs if possible, or get drywall anchors if not.  And use more brackets if they're just in drywall.

Finished product:

Side the right, attached to the wall.  Neither picture is amazing, but you get the idea:  nice, secure dresser.

There are also commercially available straps/kits you can use.  It all depends on your comfort level.  The above project took a whopping 15 minutes and the most advanced tool I used was a screwdriver (I could have gotten the drill out, but that would have been more work than it saved).  Don't forget about your TVs if they're on tables or anything that can be tipped....there's straps and such for that.  I don't advise screwing a bracket into your TV....

Next up, screwing her bookshelf to the wall, and bolting the living daylights out of the entertainment center.  I think that thing would kill me if it fell on's a beast.

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