* General Guidelines
Furniture surfaces should be smooth and free of splinters
or rough edges. Nails, screws and other joiners should
be tight and unexposed. Be wary of older pieces of furniture
that may contain lead paint.
* Bunk Beds
Bunk beds are not recommended for children under six
years of age. The top bunk should have guardrails on
each side, with no more than 15 inches open at each
end. Rails should be secure and sturdy, and they should
extend at least 5 inches above the top surface of the
mattress. The mattress should be the proper size, as
stated by the manufacturer. Always use a sturdy ladder
to access the top bunk, and only one person should be
on the top bunk at a time.
* New Upholstery
Buy new upholstery that displays the gold UFAC tag.
This tag ensures that the manufacturer of the furniture
has met the construction criteria outlined by the Upholstered
Furniture Action Council.
Cot slats or spindles should be spaced no more than
2 3/8 inches apart, and none should be loose or missing.
Check to make sure all screws, brackets and other hardware
on the crib are properly installed and intact. The mattress
should fit snugly, with no more than two-fingers width
between the edge of the mattress and the cot.
* Dressers and Chests of Drawers
Drawers should slide in and out easily. When purchasing
children's furniture, check for automatic drawer stops
that prevent the drawer from falling out on unsuspecting
children. Open only one drawer at a time. And never
allow children to stand in open drawers because of the
danger of the piece tipping over.
Be careful not to overload the shelves. In some cases,
it may be a good idea to secure the top portion of the
unit to the wall to prevent it from tipping over, especially
if children are present in the home. In some pieces,
especially in youth groups, a shelf unit attaches to
a desk or chest. Always be sure those units are attached
properly and securely.
* Entertainment Centres and TV Stands
It's important to use the correct size furniture to
house your television. Because of their weight, especially
the popular larger models, TVs can fall forward if they
are not properly supported. Furniture manufacturers
offer a wealth of entertainment centers designed to
accommodate today's electronics, so there's sure to
be a piece to suit your needs.
* Storage and Toy Chests
Lids should feature safety latches that prevent the
top from falling freely or slamming shut on fingers
or a child's head. Lids also should not lock automatically.
If you have an older chest without safety latches, it
is recommended that you contact the manufacturer for
a replacement latch or remove the lid.
* Reclining Chairs
Voluntary industry guidelines have made today's reclining
chairs safer, but children should never be allowed to
play on the chairs, particularly when the chair is in
a reclined position.
HOME SAFE HOME
Home Sweet Home has taken on new meaning for today's
consumers, and as we increasingly turn to our
homes as havens for enjoying family and friends,
we are looking for these comfort zones to not only
be comfortable and inviting, but safe and secure as
To help ensure that Home Sweet Home is also Home Safe
Home, Bradleys Homeguide offers the following ABCs for safe home furnishings:
* A is for awareness, which can help prevent accidents
in the home.
* B is for bunk beds, a good choice for children 6
and older, but not recommended for children under 6.
* C is for cots, the best place for your baby to sleep.
Make sure slats or spindles are no more than 2 3/8 inches
apart and that none are loose or missing. The mattress
should be firm and fit snugly in the cot.
* D is for drawers, great for stashing your stuff,
but terrible as a stepping stool. To prevent tipover,
never allow children to climb in drawers or open more
than one at a time. Automatic drawer stops, which keep
drawers from falling out on unsuspecting feet, are often
a good feature, especially if children are in the home.
* E is for entertainment centre, the perfect place
to house your new TV. Just be sure it's the right size
so that the TV is properly supported and won't fall
* F is for falls, a leading cause of injuries and deaths
in the home. Particularly vulnerable are the elderly
and young children. To lessen the likelihood of falls,
eliminate clutter, be sure rugs have slip-resistant
pads, keep electrical cords out of walkways and clean
up spills immediately.
* G is for guardrails. Bunk beds should have guardrails
on each side of the top bunk, with the side against
the wall or opposite the ladder running the full length
of the bed. The other rail should be secure and sturdy
and should extend at least 5 inches above the mattress.
* H is for height, which you should consider in bookcases
and dressers. If the piece is taller than it is wide,
you may want to secure it to the wall to prevent tipover,
especially if young children are in the home. And bookcases
should never be overloaded, particularly on top.
* I is for ideal. Remember that the ideal furnishings
for your home are not only comfortable and beautiful,
but safe as well.
* J is for joiners. It's a good idea to check periodically
to make sure all screws, bolts, brackets and other joiners
on your furniture are tight and secure.
* K is for kids, who love to play but who should never
be allowed to play or climb on furniture, especially
on bunk beds, dressers or open reclining chairs.
* L is for lids and latches. Toy and storage chests
should have safety latches that prevent the lid from
falling freely or slamming shut on fingers or a child's
head. Lids should not lock automatically. If you have
an older chest without a safety latch, contact the manufacturer
for a replacement latch, or remove the lid.
* M is for matches, which should be kept away from
children. Children playing with matches or lighters
are the second leading cause of fires in the home, behind
cooking accidents. Careless smoking is the third leading
cause of fires.
* N is for nighttime, when it gets dark. When the sun
goes down, lighting should come on. Use a variety of
floor and table lamps, as well as ceiling and wall fixtures,
to ensure that your home is well-lit so people can move
around safely. Candles are a nice touch for evening,
but use caution near upholstery and bedding.
* O is for old, which could be dangerous. Be sure older
pieces of furniture do not contain lead paint that is
flaking. Also check for sturdiness and stability.
* P is for pathways, which should be clutter free and
well-lit, both inside and outside the home. Furniture
should be arranged to allow easy walk through.
* Q is for quality. Buy the best you can afford –
for safety's sake. Quality furniture, regardless of
price range, is manufactured with safety in mind.
* R is for recliner, a comfortable seat, but one that
requires caution. Only one adult should sit in a recliner
at a time, and children should never be allowed to play
on or around a recliner. To prevent cuts and lacerations,
do not put your hands or fingers under the mechanism
to operate the chair.
* S is for supervision, for which there is no substitute.
No matter how safe the products in your home are, small
children should always be supervised by a responsible
* T is for temptation, which should be avoided. To
prevent tempting your children to climb on furniture,
do not place enticing objects on tops of dressers or
* U is for UFAC, the Upholstered Furniture Action Council.
When buying new upholstered furniture, look for the
gold UFAC tag ensuring that the manufacturer has agreed
to meet UFAC's construction criteria. The voluntary
UFAC program has been credited with contributing to
a nearly 80% reduction in the number of upholstered
furniture fires started by smoldering cigarettes.
* V is for vigilant, which is what you should be when
it comes to home safety.
* W is for windows, which provide a wonderful view.
But furniture, especially children's beds, should not
be placed near windows where children can climb or fall
* X is for X-ing out accidents in your home. Following
these simple ABC tips will lead you on your way to safety
* Y is for yawning, leading us to...
* Z, which is for the great ZZZs you'll catch when
you know your family is safe at home.