The ACCC is co-leading an international safety campaign urging parents and carers to anchor unstable furniture and large TVs to the wall to prevent infant deaths and serious injuries.
The consumer watchdog is joining the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and 18 other regulators from around the world in alerting consumers to the dangers of unstable furniture and large TVs.
Suppliers are also being urged to take immediate steps to improve the stability of these products and supply anchors at the point of sale.
“Tragically, toppling furniture kills at least one child in Australia every year. Every day, around seven Australians are expected to have serious injuries requiring hospital treatment from toppling furniture,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“All it takes is a fleeting moment for tragedy to strike so it’s very important for parents and carers to make their homes as safe an environment as possible for kids.”
“Tip-over incidents are 100% preventable. We strongly encourage householders to check every room in their house for toppling hazards and anchor any tall or unstable furniture or large TVs. If you don’t have anchor kits, you can buy them cheaply at hardware stores or furniture retail outlets.”
The ACCC and state and territory consumer safety regulators recently surveyed over 200 furniture and television retailers in six cities across Australia to determine how retailers are adopting new industry guidelines published by the National Retail Association.
“Retailers should provide anchoring devices with household furniture and large TVs at the point of purchase to prevent them from toppling onto children. Our market surveillance found that only 12 per cent of retailers supplied anchors with all that furniture required them, which is not good enough, and we call on industry to make them available in every store,” Ms Rickard said.
To combat the risks posed by toppling furniture and TVs, the ACCC and state and territory consumer safety regulators have developed a National Toppling Furniture and Television Safety Strategy.
“The ACCC will continue to work with retailers to ensure appropriate anchoring devices are supplied to consumers, better in-store signage is displayed, and warning labels are affixed to products,” Ms Rickard said.
- Purchase low-set furniture or furniture with sturdy, stable and broad bases.
- Look for furniture that comes with safety information or equipment for anchoring it to the walls.
- Test the furniture in the shop – make sure it is stable. For example, pull out the top drawers and apply a little pressure to see how stable it is; make sure the drawers do not fall out easily.
- Attach, mount, bolt or otherwise secure furniture to walls and floors.
- 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 encourage children to climb up and reach.
- Do not place unstable furniture near where children play.
- Put locking devices on all drawers and doors to prevent children opening them and using them as steps.