Safety Guide for Buying Kids Furniture

By: John Morris


Your little one is precious, so safety is the first thing to keep in mind when shopping for furniture. Follow the guide below to ensure that you make all the safety considerations before making the purchase.

1. General Guidelines

- Read the label and check if the product meets the US Consumer Safety Commission standard for the particular furniture type or model - products especially for babies and young kids require this rating
- Consult the US Consumer Safety Commission website for any furniture recall to know what to avoid when buying a specific furniture
- Look at the furniture construction. Make sure it is sturdy, durable and rated to carry your childís weight, size or age
- Avoid furniture with rough or sharp edges. This is an obvious hazard to your child. If you cannot avoid such, buy corner or edge guards from Home Depot and install it before letting your child use the piece of furniture

2. Prevent Furniture From Tipping Over

- Anchor furniture to the wall or floor to ensure that they do not tip over on the kid. Children are very adventurous and they always want to climb, conquer and test furniture, so avoid having one of the 10,000 children brought annually to the hospital for furniture tip over injury
- Place heavy items like TVís or heavy books at the lower part of bookcases or display cabinets. This also ensures the furniture will not have a tendency to tip over
- Keep your kidís stuff low and within their reach. Avoid placing them on top of bookcases or display cabinets. No matter where his or her favorite teddy is, your child will climb to get it. So discourage that

3. Toy Chests, Closets

- When buying toy chests, avoid buying the ones with a vertically opening lid. Such an opening has a danger of having the lid fall onto your child when he or she reaches inside to get a toy. If you cannot avoid buying a vertically opening toy chest, make sure that it has a hinge that locks into position and prevents a free falling lid. Test it yourself before buying
- Place a lock or door guard on swing-out or pullout closets to avoid being accidentally pulled open by your infant
- Choose painted finishes for closets and avoid top pressed laminates. Laminate adhesive can wear out over time and due to humidity. When the laminate lifts, it can be a splinter hazard to your child

4. Bunk Bed Safety

- As your child outgrows his crib, the next logical sleeping furniture is a bunk bed. It is perfect when sharing the room with other siblings or when optimizing bedroom space by locating storage or the study area, under the elevated bed. However, there are still reported cases of injuries or hospitalizations due to defective bunk beds. Entrapment, falling and suffocation are the most common cases. Follow the advice below to avoid them
- Make sure the space between the guardrail and the mattress or bed frame is wide enough to allow your child to slip through. Death by strangulation has occurred on children whose head get stuck in such spaces
- Check the durability of the way the guardrail is attached. Make sure it can resist your childís weight so it cannot dislodge and let your child fall while sleeping
- When lodging the bunk bed against a wall, make sure that there is no gap between the bed or bed frame and the wall. Reported deaths have occurred when kids rolled off the bedís wall side and got stuck in between the wall and the side of the bed. If there is a remote possibility that this can happen, install a second durable guardrail
- If using a double bunk bed, an unsecured mattress foundation can dislodge when the kid in the lower bed kicks upwards to the upper bunk. Avoid this by securing the upper bed mattress foundation by placing additional cross ties underneath the foundation
- Make sure that the size of the mattress fits the structure of the bunk bed structures. A mattress that is too short will have a gap with the frame. Your child can fall or be strangled on such an opening

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