April 19, 2014

Tipping Stoves – A Real Danger to Children

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has launched an investigation into the recent death of a toddler crushed by a stove. This horrific accident is not as unusual as we would like to believe.

Since 1980, there have been 34 deaths. In just the past five years, there have been more than 1,600 appliance-related injuries having to do with instability and tip-over.

My News3 put four year old Clementina Gonzales to the test. She was easily able to move the stove off a wall, and she only weighs 40 pounds.

The stove we tested was not mounted to the wall, which was likely the case in the incident over the weekend when a stove toppled over onto a 17 month old boy, killing him. Police say it happened when the boy’s father stepped away to pack a travel bag. He was only gone a few minutes.

Appliance specialist Richard Rodriguez showed us how an L-shaped bracket can prevent a stove from tipping over.

“On every gas or electric range, this is called the anti-dip tip device. Like it says, it keeps the range from tipping over. They’ll put this in backwards toward the wall and then they’ll slide the range in, onto it, and screw it down.”

Since 1991, industry standards have required that stoves come with the brackets. Instructions on how to install them are on the first page of most owner’s manuals. So far, there are no federal regulations requiring the brackets.

Clementina’s father says he did not get a bracket with his stove.

“…we just purchased it not too long ago and pretty much just hooked up the gas line to it and scooted it into place and that’s it,” said Joe Gonzalez.

Big hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s do not sell these brackets separately, but we did locate some with a Google search. You might be able to find one at an appliance part store. You may also contact your stove manufacturer and order one directly.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission just published an evaluation on stove stability. It found static weight between 40 and 50 pounds at the edge of an oven door was enough to tip all ranges tested forward.

The bottom line is that a slide-in range is a danger without being bracketed into the wall. I would suggest that those brackets be bolted into the wall stud.

A quick check behind the range will tell you if you have the brackets already installed:

A simple, inexpensive, lifesaving addition to installation.