Toppling furniture and televisions: Anchor them and save a child’s life
Tragically, up to two children die every year from furniture or TVs toppling over.
Toppling furniture and TVs also cause hundreds of serious injuries each year. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Making sure your home is safe for children could prevent a serious accident.
Don’t wait until it’s too late.
You can take steps to prevent unstable furniture and TVs from toppling over and crushing a child. Secure furniture and TVs using furniture straps, angle braces or anchors screwed into walls.
If you’re renting a home, talk to your landlord or agent to get permission to install anchor devices to the wall. Explain why you want to secure your furniture and assure them that you will repair damage caused by the installation when the tenancy ends. Make sure you get the landlord or agent’s approval in writing.
This safety video offers useful information about how to anchor furniture and TVs. It also includes tips on how to prevent children from opening drawers and using them to climb up furniture.
Hundreds of children suffer injuries every year due to furniture or televisions toppling on them. On average, one or two of these children will die from blunt impact injuries or asphyxiation due to the crushing weight of these products.
Furniture comes in a vast variety of shapes, sizes and materials, but most free-standing furniture is unstable to some degree. If there’s a chance a child will climb on it, there’s a good chance it could topple over.
Preventing a serious injury or tragedy occurring in your home is easy and affordable. Use anchoring devices to secure furniture and televisions to a wall or other building structure. Most large TVs are supplied with anchor points, and anchoring devices are commonly supplied with tall furniture along with warnings that the anchors must be installed to prevent injury.
If anchors are supplied, you should use them and follow the supplier’s installation instructions. You can also purchase a variety of anchoring devices including straps and brackets from a hardware store. Installation isn’t difficult and you can ask for advice at a hardware store about suitable anchors and the right fasteners for your walls or other building structure.
- Attach, mount, bolt or otherwise secure furniture and televisions to walls and floors.
- Put locking devices on all drawers to prevent children opening them and using them as steps.
- Do not put heavy items on top shelves of bookcases.
- Discourage small children from climbing on furniture.
- Do not put tempting items such as favourite toys on top of furniture that encourages children to climb up and reach.
- Do not place unstable furniture near where children play.
- Look for furniture that comes with anchoring devices. If it doesn’t include them, ask whether they’re available in the store.
- Purchase low-set furniture or furniture with sturdy, stable and broad bases.
- Tell retail staff if you have small children in your home so they can advise you about safer options.
- The National Retail Association has produced a voluntary Best Practice Guide for Furniture and Television Tip-Over Prevention. Ask if your retailer applies this guide to their product range.
Best Practice Guide
A Best Practice Guide for Furniture and Television Tip-Over Prevention has been developed by the National Retail Association, in consultation with a range of businesses and with support from the ACCC, the Australian Furniture Association (AFA) and the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA). The Guide recommends that suppliers of furniture and televisions:
- develop a company policy that outlines systems to address tip-over hazards associated with their products and states their commitment to support the policy
- affix to the products (or supply with them) anchor devices that are fit for the purpose
- provide consumer information about tip-over hazards and prevention that includes warning labels
- in user / assembly instructions
- on any packaging, including for flat-packed furniture, and
- on the product
- develop and maintain staff training programs and manuals about furniture and television consumer safety initiatives
- provide consumer literature illustrating the various means of anchoring furniture and televisions
- display warnings in the vicinity of tall furniture and televisions strongly advising consumers to use anchors to secure them to a wall or other building structure