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Make sure your furniture doesn’t tip over

No one wants an accident to happen in their home. A piece of furniture, such as a chest of drawers, that tips over can seriously or even fatally injure a child or an adult. That’s why it must be secured to the wall. You can find more information below about tipping accidents and preventing them by securing your chest of drawers and dressers to the wall.

A sketch of a chest of drawers, not secured to a wall, tipping over on a child who has pulled out all the drawers.

What causes tip-overs?

Some causes are illustrated below. Remember also that an uneven or leaning floor, the edge of a carpet or rug, and soft or thick carpets and rugs can cause instability and tipping accidents.

A sketch of a chest of drawers, not secured to a wall, tipping over on a man who has pulled out all the drawers.

Opening several drawers at the same time, in search of something. This makes the centre of gravity of the chest of drawers shift outside the base of the furniture and causes it to tip over.

A sketch of an unsecured chest of drawers, with a TV and toy on top, tipping over on a child climbing up the drawers.

Using the drawers as a ladder to reach an object. Putting a toy or another attraction on top could tempt a child to climb up.

Putting a heavy object on top of a chest of drawers increases the tip-over hazard.

A sketch of a chest of drawers, which is not secured to a wall, tipping over on a child who is pulling on a drawer.

Pulling or hanging on a drawer for fun.

A sketch of a chest of drawers, not secured to the wall, tipping over on a small child who is sitting in a drawer.

Sitting in a drawer during play.

A sketch of a chest of drawers, not secured to a wall, tipping over on a child who has pulled out all the drawers.

Opening all the drawers at the same time out of curiosity. This makes the centre of gravity of the chest of drawers shift outside the base of the furniture and causes it to tip over.

A sketch of a chest of drawers, not secured to the wall, tipping over on a kneeling woman who is pulling on a drawer.

Leaning on a drawer for support or to rise up from the floor.


The science of tipping

A sketch showing the centre of gravity of an unsecured chest of drawers shifting and the chest of drawers tipping over.

When we develop furniture, we do everything we can to make it as stable and safe as possible. But we can’t outsmart the laws of physics. For example, when the centre of gravity of a piece of furniture shifts outside the base of the furniture, it will tip over if it is not secured. Or the fact that a pulled-out drawer works like a lever.

A sketch to illustrate how a lever works. It shows a see-saw with two children playing on it, one small and one large.

Because of the physics of levers, even a small weight can shift the centre of gravity a lot if the weight is applied to a pulled-out drawer (or an open door). So a small child who stands, sits or climbs on an open drawer can make a large chest of drawers tip over if it’s not secured – despite the child’s low weight.

A sketch of an unsecured dresser, with a TV and toy on top, tipping over on a child climbing up the drawers.

Children and tipping chests of drawers

Children are curious and creative, always learning and discovering. This helps make children aged 1-7 years more accident-prone. And the smallest ones, aged 1-4 years, are most at risk of serious injuries. That’s why a chest of drawers or dresser – no matter what model or size – can be a hazard if it isn’t secured to the wall. There are many examples where children have pulled out one or several drawers and pulled themselves up, climbed up, hung on or climbed into them.

A sketch of two chests of drawers which are not secured to the wall and are tipping over on a man and a woman.

Adults and tipping chests of drawers

Adults are at risk, too, not just children. We sometimes open several drawers at the same time. Sometimes we put too many or too heavy things in the front of the drawers. In these cases, the centre of gravity shifts outside the base of the furniture and it tips over. Leaning on a drawer for support or when we get up from the floor can also cause tipping.


Secure your chest of drawers, simple and safe

When you buy an IKEA chest of drawers or dresser, you must always follow the assembly instructions and secure it with the accompanying attachment devices. They’re easy to mount, and screws and plugs are included. Just fill the holes with putty when you want to move your chest of drawers, or are moving to another home.

An illustration of a screw which has been screwed through a layer of a material such as plasterboard and into wood.
A sketch of a screw which is screwed into a wall made of something solid like brick. The screw is inside a wall plug.
A sketch of a screw inside a wall plug which has been screwed into a wall made of a material such as plasterboard.

The screws and plugs supplied with your IKEA product can be used with most solid and hollow walls. For solid wood use the screws without plugs. If you need additional screws and plugs, there are sets available in the IKEA range. If you are uncertain about what you need, seek professional advice.

See how easy it is!

Want to know how to secure your piece of furniture to the wall?

Watch this short film.