Feds focus on visuals in latest round of 'Anchor It!' child safety effort

The Consumer Product Safety Commission found visuals were necessary to demonstrate the differences in how adults and children see the home

WASHINGTON — Despite the prevalence of childhood injuries from furniture tipovers in the home, the reality of the danger hasn’t clicked for many Americans. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is trying to change that with a campaign called "Anchor It!"

Before launching the latest round of the effort, the group researched what would best resonate with consumers about risk factors in the home.

Group spokesperson Kim Dulic said it found that three factors contribute to a lack of awareness: not realizing the problem, thinking it can’t happen in the home, or dismissing it as too complicated or expensive.

The "Anchor It!" initiative wants to emphasize that safeguarding a home against furniture tipovers is neither pricy or time-consuming, nor does it mean homeowners are neglectful.  

"We knew we had to educate consumers on what the hazard is and make them aware of how often this happens," said Dulic. "It was important our campaign found that balance between ‘This is a real hazard’ without turning them off."

About 38,000 Americans go to emergency rooms each year with injuries related to furniture or TV sets tipping over, and two-thirds of those injuries involve children younger than five, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Between 2000 and 2013, 84% of the 430 deaths involved children younger than 10, according to the group.

The Commission also found visuals would be a necessity, because the audience might not be able to otherwise put in perspective how children perceive certain pieces of furniture.

"Where we see drawers that open, a child can view it as a staircase,"  Dulic said.

After learning about the effect of visuals on the campaign, the Commission decided not to air a radio PSA as part of the campaign. Instead, it will use TV spots, hard copies of materials, and online advocacy to drive home the point.  

This story first appeared on prweek.com.

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