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How to Anchor Furniture

I feel as parents, most of us try our best to educate ourselves on child safety. But sometimes I’m surprised when I’m talking with another mom and she doesn’t know about certain safety measures. However, that’s the thing about parenthood, there’s no school to attend. You learn by either self-education or by others telling you.

When baby proofing comes up with other parents, they’ll talk to me about putting safety locks on the kitchen cabinets, safety latches on toilets, and outlet plugs in electrical outlets. But they rarely mention anchoring their furniture or appliances, like TVs, to keep them from tipping over onto their children.

If you have children in your house, it’s imperative that you anchor furniture, electronics, and appliances.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), along with IKEA, announced a repair program that includes a wall anchoring kit for their dressers. The program was spurred after two children died earlier in the year after their IKEA dressers tipped over and fell on them.

Anchor furniture and electronics and protect a child!
image via Consumer Product Safety Commission

But please keep in mind that tip-over incidents can happen with any kind of furniture or electronic, not just IKEA-specific items. I applaud IKEA for being pro-active about sharing the message. If you visit their site, on every item page, even items that aren’t furniture, they have a blurb about preventing tip-overs and a link to their information page.

According to the CPSC, a child dies every two weeks as a result of a tip-over incident– most are under the age of 5. And of the 363 fatalities reported from 2000 to 2011, 62% of the deaths involved a falling TV.

When the CPSC and IKEA wall anchoring program was announced, the Washington Post published an article on it. In the article, they interviewed Jackie Collas, a mother whose 2 year old son died as a result of an IKEA dresser tipping over and falling on him. If you don’t read the article, here’s the excerpt that stuck with me.

While she waited for an ambulance, Collas desperately tried to resuscitate the small boy. After his funeral she would learn that Curren had no vital signs when the paramedics took over. CPR wouldn’t have saved him.

Knowing that, she wishes she had stopped lifesaving efforts that day, she told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I would have held him a little longer,” she says. “While he was warm.”

After reading that, I was left with tears pouring down my face. As a mother, my heart ached for her and her family. After the tragedy, Jackie started a blog where she shares Curren’s story and her journey.

So today I wanted to share how we anchored the dresser in Owen’s nursery to the wall.

I made a short video showing how little effort it takes to tip over a dresser. Please watch it below. (There’s no sound.)

YouTube video

 How to anchor furniture! Life-saving information to keep children safe!

We purchased eight of these furniture straps for a total of $18. So I’m going to show we installed them.

Whatever straps you get, just make sure you read and follow the instructions.

** In our next house, we’ll most likely upgrade to steel cables for extra assurance. You can buy steel cable installation kits here and here.

Disclaimer: follow the directions for your specific furniture and electronic anchoring kits.

Supplies Needed to Anchor Furniture

furniture strap kits (we used these)
stud finder (here’s ours, but here’s an inexpensive one)
tape measure
cordless drill (this is optional, but suggested)
impact driver (here’s a drill/impact driver combo)

If you need to secure your TV, here are some TV straps.

Anchor TVs and protect a child!
image via The International Association for Child Safety

Find the Studs

Furniture straps should always be secured to studs. So start by locating them with our stud finder and mark the studs behind the dresser.

anchoring furniture


The straps we used are supposed to be secured to the wall nine inches below the dresser.

Start by pre-drilling the holes that are smaller than the screw with your cordless drill. This is done so the screw will go in easier and be less likely to split the wood. The furniture strap bracket serves as your guide for where the pre-drilled holes should go.

how to anchor furniture 1

Drive the Screws

Drive the screws into the studs with an impact driver, securing the bracket to the wall. Impact drivers just help to not strip the wood. They also function kind of like a hammer, so while it drills, it hammers the screw into the wood.

Here’s the drill and impact driver combo set that we own. But here’s a more inexpensive drill and impact driver combo set. If you don’t have both, you can always ask your friends or family if they have two that you can borrow.

anchoring furniture to wall

Mark the Dresser

Move the dresser back to its original spot to mark where the furniture bracket needs to go on the dresser. Use a pencil to mark where to put the bracket.

how to anchor furniture to wall

Pre-Drill the Dresser

Then, move the dresser back out and pre-drill two holes, using the bracket as your guide. Erase the pencil lines.

anchoring dresser to wall

Drive the Screws

Next, drive the screws into the dresser.

how to anchor dresser to wall

Attach the Straps

Then, slide the dresser back into place and hook the silver buckle to the strap on the furniture bracket. And tighten the straps.

After you are done, test out the straps.

How to anchor furniture! Life-saving information to keep children safe!

As you can see, they do their job.

How to anchor furniture! Life-saving information to keep children safe!

After installing the furniture straps I felt more peace of mind.

How to anchor furniture! Life-saving information to keep children safe!

Note: We tightened the straps more after taking the photos– it was harder to see with them when they were tightened all the way.

This project was really easy to do and did it in less than hour.

If you haven’t already, please anchor your furniture, appliances, and electronics. And please share this with your friends. Let’s keep our mini-mes alive and well.

And remember, if your child spends time in other homes or places, like a daycare facility, in-home daycare, or friend’s or relative’s home, make sure the furniture and electronics are anchored there as well.

And while I have you here, just a reminder to never put your kiddos in their car seats with winter coats or snowsuits. Actually, no one should wear a heavy winter coat in a car. And for more info on winter coats and car seats, hit up The Car Seat Lady.

image via The Car Seat Lady

How to anchor furniture! Life-saving information to keep children safe!

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  1. Thank you for this wonderful and important PSA. I don’t have children of my own yet, but already I worry about things like this. Love the blog!

    1. Great information. Thank you so much!

  2. Very useful information. Thanks for the tutorial 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for this tutorial. Our little guy is 4.5 months and we bought that same dresser for his room (in part based on your great recommendation). Although he’s not yet mobile, I’m starting to think about all the things we need to do to protect him before he is. This was a much-needed kick in the pants!

  4. Even better than that kind of a tether, because fabric can stretch and disintegrate over time rendering them less or completely ineffective, is getting L brackets and mounting the furniture directly to the wall so it cannot even tip a little bit.

    It’s so important to mount furniture!

  5. lisabella says:

    I’ve been anchoring furniture to the wall for years and am expecting my first child this March. I feel like it’s not just a parenting thing, but also common sense! IKEA has been including the hardware to anchor their stuff in their boxes for some time now, we always know we’ll have what we need when we purchase from there.

    I second getting L brackets, furniture straps are nice (we strap down the TV with them) but I’d rather the dresser not tip at all.

  6. I always ignored the safety achnors that come with Ikea furniture because we don’t have kids. But I can totally see how it’s safer for everyone!

  7. For winter: when my babies graduated from the infant carseat, I had an ongoing problem getting them in and out of the car quickly while keeping them warm.

    One day, I took some thick fleece fabric and sewed a hoodie-meets-toddler-sleeping-bag contraption. Think pillowcase with a hoodie attached to one side. Anyway, I could roll this contraption down to the thigh to buckle kids in safely. This was a lot better than a blanket, because it couldn’t easily slip off. When we arrived at our destination, I could quickly unbuckle and simply pull it up over (hoodie), wrap baby up between the fleece and my oversized down coat, and run into the house or wherever I was going without any risk of exposed baby skin.

    A friend modified my idea and made her daughter a no-sew poncho style. She could just lift up the poncho to buckle/unbuckle her daughter (the buckles were secure on her daughter underneath the poncho).

    Thank you for the reminder about the dresser! Mine are secured, but only after a terrible close call that still haunts me. I had everything else secured in the house, and I never even thought that a dresser could be dangerous. Of course, my son saw it as a welcoming staircase and we were all just lucky with how that tipped and that he landed unharmed.

  8. I happened to stumble across Jackie’s blog a while ago and cried my eyes out. So heartbreaking. It hadn’t even occurred to me to anchor our furniture until reading her story–but we did it that very night.

  9. Thanks for this great post! We’ve been meaning to do this, and your post inspired me to buy the anchors. Getting it done this weekend!

  10. Laura Meredith says:

    Oh wow!! as a mother of two boys I have Not know about this, I won’t be sleeping easy until I do this xx

  11. Do you recommend the strap style anchors over the ones that may come with the furniture? Like the ones that come with most Ikea furniture.

  12. Charmaine D. Pelt says:

    My son (3) knocked over his dresser a couple of days ago. It never occurred to me to anchor the furniture. I never thought my children could knock things over. I am ordering straps right now. Thank you writing this!!!!<3

  13. I have this same dresser but our walls are old lathe and plaster (no studs). Can I use these same teathers?

    1. Yes, but you’ll want to use multiple toggle anchors to distribute the load.

  14. Kayla Reyes says:

    Hi! I’m a mommy to B/G twins, I had never thought of this. Knowing my little ones will be crawling and walking around soon I’m so thankful to have read this. I never even heard of anchoring furniture. Thank you so much.

  15. Thank you for teaching me this! I was looking around the web on how to anchor a 3-tier cat post to a wall, as even my cat getting to the top it shakes a lot and is unsteady, but no tutorials found! I saw this and now have the idea to use those anchoring belts to wrap around the post on the second and third tier and anchor it to the wall to make it more steady. Will make it more stable for my cat to be on and safer for kids when I have my own or if any come over =) Thank you so very much!

  16. Is it necessary to anchor if there are no children in the home–just adults? And watching the video, does this dresser really fall every time 2 or more drawers are open? I’m looking to purchase this exact dresser but now I have reservations. And I’m not sure the wall in my daughters apt has studs. ?

    1. All 8 of the drawers were open in the video. Not common in normal use, but very common when you have small people who like to explore and open them all up and maybe climb on them like steps.

      Unless your daughters apartment has concrete walls, it has studs. However some buildings have metal studs not wooden ones, so you would just need the appropriate hardware to attach the anchors.

  17. Regarding upgrading to steel cables: please be aware that the nylon straps are not the weak link in the system. The weak link is the plastic tabs connecting to the furniture and wall. Depending on the angle that the straps pull on the screws, the pull out strength of the screws is also likely less than the minimum breaking strength of the nylon straps. There is no benefit of upgrading to steel cables unless you upgrade your connections first.

    From your friendly structural engineer.

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  19. I have the same dresser for my daughter. She has now learned to open the bottom drawers. Have you or anyone used any locks for these drawers? Is so, which ones are you using for this dresser.


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