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A stove tipped over and crushed a 2-year-old boy when he climbed on the over door to reach something on the counter top. Although preventable, this type of accident is unfortunately not rare. The problem dates back to the 1980s, when appliance manufacturers began making stoves lighter. Pressure put on an open oven door, as from a climbing child, may result in enough leverage for a stove to pitch forward.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) counted 107 incidents resulting in injury or death from 1980 through 2006. Most injuries were burns from spilled hot liquids when the range tipped. In 1991, manufacturers began providing anti-tip brackets and warnings and instructions on installing the brackets, but deaths and injuries caused by tip-overs continue. Home owners, landlords, and appliance installers need to act responsibly and install the brackets. Had the landlord secured the stove, this little boy would be alive today.

Typically, injuries and deaths occur when children climb onto, fall against, or pull themselves up on appliances, television stands, shelves, bookcases, and dressers. A child can suffer serious and sometimes fatal injuries; they often suffer traumatic brain injuries.

Some communities require a bracket before authorizing an occupancy permit. Home owners and landlords should have them installed whether they are required or not. If you don’t have a bracket, they can be purchased for approximately $30. We all agree that a child’s life is worth much more than $30 and another hole in the wall, don’t we?!. These accidents can, and do happen; sometime they happen with a parent is standing ‘right there’. Many safety advocates believe that these manufacturers should improve appliance designs to prevent tipping. Manufacturers are certainly aware that these appliances are going into homes where young children reside; they should, therefore, take every possible measure to prevent these tragic accidents from occuring. Design changes would protect everyone – manufacturers, home builders, installers, and families – from serious injury, death, and, from lawsuits.

To help prevent tip-over hazards, CPSC offers the following safety tips:

· Furniture should be stable on its own. Be extra cautious by anchoring large furniture the floor or attach them to a wall.

· Place TVs on a sturdy, low-rise base. Avoid flimsy shelves.

· Push the TV as far back from the edge of the stand, as possible.

· Place electrical cords out of a child’s reach, and teach kids not to play with them.

· Keep the remote control and other items off the TV stand so kids won’t be tempted to climb or reach to grab them, risking knocking the TV over.

· Install anti-tip brackets on free-standing ranges and stoves.

Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in a pending, personal injury case. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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