If you’re wondering which furniture needs to be anchored, you’ve landed on the right page! With per capita spending of around $313 and US households purchasing an average of 1 to 8 furniture items, it can be tricky to decide which ones to anchor to walls. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. A good way to identify unsafe furniture that needs anchoring is to look for those that can be easily pulled over and may pose a falling risk.
After going through all the tip-over death statistics in my previous post, it’s fitting to know which furniture in your home is unsafe if left unanchored.
Factors to use when picking furniture Items to anchor:
- Size: Larger furniture may require additional anchoring as they can provide more leverage when pulled.
- Weight: Heavier furniture may need to be anchored more securely than lighter ones, especially those that are tall or top-heavy.
- Location: Furniture placed in high-traffic areas or near doors and windows should be secured to prevent accidents.
- Construction: Furniture with a narrow base, uneven weight distribution or top-heavy design should be anchored to prevent tipping.
- Material: Wooden furniture tends to be heavier and sturdier compared to lightweight materials such as particleboard or MDF. Securely anchoring these types of furniture is crucial.
- Functionality: Furniture that can be easily moved or has drawers that can be pulled out may need additional anchoring to prevent tipping.
Requirements for furniture that need to be anchored as per ASTM:
The latest safety standard guidelines set by ASTM F2057-23 for furniture state that furniture meeting specific metrics must undergo ASTM stability testing. Below are the conditions;
- Height of 27 inches or more,
- Mass of 30 pounds or more,
- Enclosed storage space of 3.2 cubic feet or more.
The ASTM F2057-19 had a height requirement of 27 inches and must comply with new labeling requirements.
Do all dressers need to be anchored?
According to the new ASTM furniture standard, any dresser or clothing storage unit taller than 27 inches and weighing 30 pounds or more, with an enclosed storage space of 3.2 cubic feet or more, must be anchored. Manufacturers are required to test the stability of these units to ensure they remain upright, even with 60 pounds of weight hanging from an open drawer while all other drawers are closed and the dresser is empty.
A dresser that measures less than 27 inches is more akin to a nightstand rather than a proper dresser. Wayfair states that a standard dresser should be around waist height (26″ – 44″), with a width ranging from 36″ to 60″ and a depth of 16″ to 20″. Considering that 26 inches is the minimum drawer height, it is reasonable to assume that most dressers meet the ASTM stability testing requirements and should be anchored after purchase to ensure stability.
Which Furniture Need to Be Anchored:
- Dressers: As mentioned earlier, any dresser or clothing storage unit taller than 27 inches and weighing 30 pounds or more must be anchored according to ASTM F2057-19. This includes both freestanding dressers and those attached to walls.
- TV stands: These units often have a similar height and weight requirement as dressers, making them susceptible to tipping over. It is important to anchor TV stands, especially those holding heavy and expensive equipment such as televisions.
- Bookshelves: While most bookshelves may not require anchoring due to their average height and weight, it is still recommended to anchor them for added safety. This is especially important if the bookshelf is placed in an area where children or pets play.
- Cabinets: Cabinets that store heavy items such as dishes, kitchen appliances or tools should also be anchored to prevent them from tipping over. This is especially crucial in earthquake-prone areas where cabinets can easily topple over.
- Chests: Similar to dressers, chests are also required to be anchored if they exceed 30 inches in height and weigh more than 50 pounds.
- Armories: These tall and heavy storage units should also be anchored to prevent them from falling over. This is especially important if the armory is used for storing clothing or other items that may add weight to the unit.
- Bar stools: While not typically considered furniture that needs to be anchored, bar stools can easily tip over if someone leans back too far. To prevent accidents, it is recommended to anchor bar stools using an anti-tip device.
- Floor lamps: Like bar stools, floor lamps may not be considered furniture that needs to be anchored. However, if the lamp is top-heavy or has a heavy base, it is recommended to anchor it for added stability.
- Standing mirror: Large standing mirrors can also be a tipping hazard, especially if they are not secured to the wall. To prevent accidents, it is recommended to anchor them using brackets or anti-tip straps.
- Electronics such as computers, fax machine and printers: These devices may not seem like they need to be anchored, but in the event of an earthquake or sudden movement, they can easily fall and cause damage. To prevent this, it is recommended to secure electronics with anti-tip straps or brackets.
- End tables: While smaller and lighter than other furniture pieces, end tables should still be anchored if possible. This is especially important if the table has a lamp or other heavy item on top that could cause it to tip over.
- Radiator covers: These can be easily tipped over by children or pets, leading to potential accidents. It is recommended to anchor radiator covers using brackets or straps for added safety.
- Shelving units: Heavy shelving units should always be anchored to prevent them from toppling over. This is especially important if the unit is located in a high-traffic area or if it holds heavy items such as books or electronics.
- Exercise equipment: Treadmills, ellipticals, and other exercise equipment can be dangerous if not properly anchored. When using these machines, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for anchoring and maintenance.
- Tables: Dining room tables and desks can also pose a tipping hazard, especially if they are top-heavy or have heavy items on top. To prevent accidents, it is recommended to anchor these pieces of furniture using anti-tip straps or brackets.
- Hutches: Hutches can also be top-heavy and easily tip over, especially if they are not secured to the wall. To prevent accidents, it is recommended to anchor hutches using brackets or anti-tip straps.
Are there dressers that don't tip over?
Certain dressers are designed to provide stability and reduce the risk of tipping. However, even these dressers should be anchored if they meet the three requirements mentioned earlier and appear to be stable. Dressers that are less prone to tipping over typically have a wide base, sturdy construction, or are equipped with anti-tip straps or brackets for enhanced safety. Additionally, it is important to properly distribute the weight in the dresser by storing heavier items in lower drawers.
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Sarah Davis is one of the co-founders of Safer For Baby, where she brings her expertise as a certified elementary school teacher in Florida and Alabama. With a focus on working with children with special needs, Sarah is deeply passionate about adaptive technologies and mobility gear for these kids. She is currently working towards becoming a certified car seat technician, and through our website, she provides personalized consultations to help parents find the perfect car seat for their child. Sarah’s dedication extends beyond her work at Safer For Baby; she also serves as a board member for Friends Of the Girl, an NGO that supports girl child education in Kenya. She will soon finish her postgraduate degree in Special Needs Education and hopes to continue her advocacy work for children with disabilities.