Based on content from Nick Gromicko and Kenton Shepard
Anti-tip brackets are metal devices designed to prevent freestanding ranges from tipping. They are normally attached to a rear leg of the range or screwed into the wall behind the range, and are included in all installation kits. A unit that is not equipped with these devices may tip over if enough weight is applied to its open door, such as that from a large Thanksgiving turkey, or even a small child. A falling range can crush, scald, or burn anyone caught beneath.
You can confirm the presence of anti-tip brackets through the following methods:
• It may be possible to see a wall-mounted bracket by looking over the rear of the range. Floor-mounted brackets are often hidden, although in some models with removable drawers, such as 30-inch electric ranges made by General Electric, the drawers can be removed and a flashlight can be used to search for the bracket. However, just because you can see the bracket does not guarantee that it has been properly installed.
• You can firmly grip the upper-rear section of the range and tip the unit. If equipped with an anti-tip bracket, the unit will not tip more than several inches before coming to a halt. The range should be turned off, and all items should be removed from the stovetop before this action can be performed. It is usually easier to detect a bracket by tipping the range than through a visual search. This test can be performed on all models and it can confirm the functionality of a bracket.
If no anti-tip bracket is detected, one should be installed to increase safety. Homeowners can contact the dealer or builder who installed their range and request that they install a bracket. For those who wish to install a bracket themselves, the part can be purchased at most hardware stores or ordered from a manufacturer (some will provide these free or for just shipping cost).
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 143 incidents caused by range tip-overs from 1980 to 2006. Of the 33 incidents that resulted in death, most of those victims were children. A small child may stand on an open range door in order to see what is cooking on the stove top and accidentally cause the entire unit to fall on top of him, along with whatever hot items may have been cooking on the stove top. The elderly may also be injured while using the range for support while cleaning.
In response to this danger, the American National Standards Institute and Underwriters Laboratories created standards in 1991 that require all ranges manufactured after that year to be capable of remaining stable while supporting 250 pounds of weight on their open doors. Manufacturers' instructions, too, require that anti-tip brackets provided be installed.