The Dangers Of 'Curious Little Kids'

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Toddlers and preschool-aged kids will climb just about anything. A frightening video this week shows how perilous that can be.


The video is heart-stopping. Those two pajama-clad toddler boys in Utah standing in the drawers of their dresser, only to have it tumble on top of them.

The dresser pinned one boy completely. It landed on the feet of the other. Stunningly, the second was able to pull his feet out, stand up and had the wits about him to push the dresser just enough so that his brother could wriggle out from underneath.


It was a happy ending for the boys, who went unscathed with no injuries. It doesn't always turn out that way.

"These types of incidents can cause devastating, life-threatening injuries," said Thomas Rouse, M.D., a pediatric surgeon at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. "Glad that the little guy was OK."

The video didn't surprise Dr. Rouse, who often sees such incidents at Riley. They most often occur as children begin to walk and continue to ages 5 or 6, he said.

"They are curious little kids," he said. "The child basically uses the dresser as a ladder to get to the top."

And that climbing can be fatal. On average, one child dies every two weeks when a TV or piece of furniture falls on him or her. Such accidents will often cause three main types of injuries -- facial fractures, brain injuries and spine injuries.

"It is something we see," Dr. Rouse said. And it never gets any easier, mostly because the accidents are preventable.

Here are some tips to avoid TV and furniture topples:

  • Put safety at the top of your list when preparing the nursery.
    "When you're planning for your baby, when you're planning that nursery, make sure one of the first things you do when you put that dresser in the room is to secure it to the wall," said Cara Fast, MSW, manager of safety education and outreach at IU School of Medicine, Pediatrics.
    Many furniture manufacturers now include wall fasteners with dressers. If not, they can be purchased at any store that sells child safety products.
  • About 46 percent of tip-over fatalities occur in a child's bedroom. Since parents can't always be in the room, be sure to put the heaviest items in the bottom drawers of the dresser to anchor it down.
  • A TV can fall with a force of thousands of pounds. That is 10 times more powerful than being hit by an NFL lineman. Dr. Rouse suggests mounting televisions to walls, so there is no risk of it falling off a table or dresser.

Source: Statistics provided by anchorit.gov.

-- By Dana Benbow, Senior Journalist at IU Health.
Reach Benbow via email dbenbow@iuhealth.org or on Twitter @danabenbow.

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