I’ll be watching the Super Bowl at my family’s annual party in West Memphis, and like many viewers, I’ll be watching for the commercials.
Last year, one particular commercial was by far my favorite — the Nationwide “make safe happen” ad in which a young boy laments all the adventures he won’t experience, “because I died from an accident.”
The commercial brought attention to home accident dangers, such as television tip-overs, but was panned on social media as being too depressing for Super Bowl viewers.
I loved the ad because it brought much-needed attention to furniture and television tip-overs — an issue I care deeply about. That’s because this will be our family’s fourth Super Bowl party without my daughter, Chance, whom we lost to a television tip-over accident in our home.
While about 100 million Americans will be watching the Super Bowl, it’s estimated that thousands more will have purchased new televisions for the occasion. Experts say the two weeks before the Super Bowl make up one of the most popular times for TV purchases, as fans buy new flat screen televisions and relegate their heavier, older sets to a bedroom, often on top of a dresser or table.
Many parents don’t realize they need to anchor those televisions, and their new flat screens, too.
When I purchased my flat screen, I remember having reservations about a possible tip-over, so I had it anchored to the wall. I never realized that the older television I had moved to my child’s bedroom posed the same risk.
So many aspects of the day that I lost Chance are burned into my memory. How that morning she insisted on wearing her favorite outfit — complete with yellow flip-flops. How unusually quiet she was as I drove her to day care — not singing and laughing as usual, but instead just staring out the window pensively.
And how that night she gave me a beautiful little smile when I applauded her for cleaning her dinner plate.
I also remember her brother, Brandon, running into my room that night, crying about what he had witnessed. In the three minutes since I’d last seen her, Chance had tried to climb up a dresser to get to the television set, toppling the dresser and TV on top of her.
I found her under the dresser, unresponsive. I’ve never experienced pain and heartache like that. I know Chance would want me to keep other parents from experiencing it, too.
I’ve dedicated myself to talking to parents about furniture tip-over dangers. I’ve become an advocate for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Anchor It! Campaign, which outlines tip-over dangers in the home and explains how to safely and easily secure TVs and furniture.
According to the CPSC, every 24 minutes a child goes to the emergency room from these tip-over incidents.
So if you’re among the thousands of Americans buying a TV ahead of the Super Bowl (and even if you’re not), know that televisions should only be placed on stands designed to hold them.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions to properly secure TVs. Anchor existing furniture with inexpensive anti-tip brackets available at hardware or electronics stores, and install anti-tip brackets that come with new furniture right away.
Always remove items from the top of televisions and furniture that might tempt kids to climb, such as toys or remote controls. Visit AnchorIt.gov to learn more.
Take time to enjoy the big game (and the commercials) with your family and friends, but if little ones are in your home, also take time to ensure you follow the safety steps to protect them from television and furniture tip-overs.
Keisha Bowles lives in Marion, Arkansas, with her 10-year-old son, Brandon.