What’s at stake: toppling furniture and TVs

It’s natural for kids to climb, reach, and pull themselves up on furniture. It might be to reach for a toy or something interesting. But even a small child can make a heavy piece of furniture tip over, with potentially tragic consequences.

What can happen

Common household furniture such as bookshelves, bookcases, chests of drawers, cabinets, and furniture intended to hold a TV have toppled causing serious injuries and death.

A chest of drawers with its drawers closed; the centre of gravity is in the middle of the furniture.

Chests of drawers are often heavy. This may give the impression it is stable, but it might not be.

A chest of drawers with its drawers open; the centre of gravity has moved forward to the front of the furniture.

Opening the drawers moves part of the furniture’s weight out in front of the unit, creating a toppling risk.

The opened chest of drawers, with a child pulling on them - the centre of gravity has moved far forward and the furniture is tipping over.

The risk increases if a child starts to climb the furniture, adding their weight to the front of the unit.


Toppling furniture can hit, trap or crush someone underneath resulting in:

  • broken or dislocated bones
  • head and brain injuries
  • crush injuries
  • suffocation.

Heavy items, such as TVs, placed on top of furniture may fall when furniture becomes unstable, contributing to the severity of injuries.

Although modern TVs are much thinner and lighter when compared to older models, they can still cause serious injuries or death if they topple onto small children.

Opening drawers or doors shifts the weight of the unit forward and the additional weight of a child further increases the risk of toppling.

What to do about it

Injuries and deaths from toppling furniture and TVs are preventable. There are practical things you can do to keep you and your loved ones safe.

See our tips for: