Consumer Affairs Victoria is reminding Victorians to check their household furniture for stability and safety, after a five-year-old boy died when a television set fell on him at his Western Australian home.
The dangers of heavy household furniture and other items tipping over and crushing young children are not always obvious to parents and carers.
Statistics from the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit show that from 2006 to 2010, children under 10 accounted for more than 70 per cent of visits to emergency departments for injuries caused by tipping TVs.
Modern flat-screen TVs can easily tip over - they often have a narrow base and are frequently placed on low surfaces, within easy reach of children. Their large size, weight and sharp corners pose risks of crushing injuries or death.
To prevent TV tip-overs:
- match the stand or cabinet to the size of your TV. It should have a wide, deep and stable base
- use wall brackets or straps to secure your TV to a wall
- keep cords behind furniture, out of reach of children
- do not put the remote control or other items attractive to children on top of the TV where they may try to reach them
- never place your TV on unstable furniture or on a trolley.
Other tip-over hazards
Top-heavy pieces of furniture, such as wall units or bookcases, can fall over if a child grabs or climbs on them.
When buying furniture, look for:
- a wide, stable base that prevents children pulling the piece of furniture down on themselves, or climbing on it and falling off
- toughened glass in coffee tables and other glass-topped furniture
- round smooth edges, to prevent cuts and bruises
- tall items (such as wall units, book cases, chests of drawers or tallboys) with capacity to be secured to a wall with angle braces or anchors.
For more information on making your home child-safe, download the Keeping Baby Safe guide from the Product Safety Australia website.
Consumer Affairs Victoria's: Helpline: 1300 55 81 81; Website: http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/businesses/fair-trading/product-safety