We have all experienced gravity–it is very helpful in everything we do from brushing our teeth to getting out of bed–or even staying in bed. Controlling our movements, as well as the movements of the objects around us, in relation to gravity is important to our health and safety.
Today I want to focus on control of the movement of the objects around us.
If you live in a seismic zone and experience earthquakes you are likely very aware of how easily heavy objects can tip over. In those zones there are often requirements for preventing heavy objects from tipping over–such as is the case with water heaters. When water heaters tip over water lines and gas lines can be ruptured–also electrical connections can be ripped apart. The necessity for restraining such an appliance is pretty obvious.
Other reasons for restraining objects is to prevent unwanted tipping over of objects that could result in crushing someone–especially a child. Anti-tip brackets for kitchen ranges is good example of this. Children like to open oven doors and climb on them to get to the proverbial cookie jar. Of course adults need anti-tip devices as can be seen in this video–especially after tipping a few too many.
But seriously, according to the CPSC, thousands of children are injured by appliances, televisions, bookcases, and bureaus tipping over on them. Between 2000 and 2010, 245 children were actually killed by these objects. Emergency room visits from injuries from these objects tipping over on them amounts to over 43,000 kids under the age of 8—per year.
Here are the CPSC’s recommendations:
To prevent tragedies follow these safety tips in any home where children live or visit:
Anchor furniture to the wall or the floor.
Place TVs on sturdy, low bases.
Or, anchor the furniture and the TV on top of it, and push the TV as far back on the furniture as possible.
Keep remote controls, toys, and other items that might attract children off TV stands or furniture.
Keep TV and/or cable cords out of reach of children.
Make sure freestanding kitchen ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.
Supervise children in rooms where these safety tips have not been followed.
But what about outdoors? What about the things outdoors that can tip over and either damage the things they fall on or injure persons that they fall on.
On an inspection a while back, it occurred to me that there might be an issue with this elevated rain barrel.
This barrel, when full of water, weighs almost 500 lbs. Would a kid want to see if they could climb this structure to get to the deck? Of course they would. Or perhaps they would just climb on it to see how much water is in the barrel. Either way this barrel needs to be properly restrained to prevent it from tipping over.
Anyone that has raised 6 year old’s knows what it feels to be awakened from a nice nap as the 50 lbs of joy lands on you from a running start. Now while a 500 lb rain barrel has no razor sharp knees and elbows to hit inappropriate areas of one’s body–it can do even more damage.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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