to explore their environment, and through climbing,
they can find ways to access out-of-reach items or toys. Free-standing
furniture, appliances, and televisions
are often the right height to climb on, but are unstable and can easily topple,
causing serious injuries or even death if a child is underneath.
average, two children die each year and hundreds more injured because of
toppling furniture and televisions. Children under 10 years old are most at risk, and more than half of tip-over
injuries involve a child under 4 years
causes of injury
items like bookcases, chests of drawers, cupboards, wardrobes and free-standing
mirrors are usually unsecured, leaving them susceptible to toppling. Most furniture tip-over deaths are caused by
asphyxiation due to the crushing
weight of such heavy furniture and household items. Other injuries caused by
furniture tip-overs can include:
bones, fractures or dislocations
- cuts or
take quick, easy and low-cost steps to prevent furniture tip-over deaths and
injuries. With a little effort, 100 per cent
of tip-over incidents can be prevented. To
make your home safe:
- Secure televisions
and tall or unstable furniture to wall studs or floors with appropriate
anchoring devices. Brackets, braces or wall straps can be used, and these can be purchased from hardware stores or furniture
the directions provided with new furniture or appliances on how to install any anchoring
child-resistant locks on drawers to prevent drawers from being opened and used
as steps to climb on.
- Open only
one drawer at a time and close all drawers that you’re not using.
heavy items on lower shelves or drawers of bookcases, wardrobes or cupboards.
place televisions or heavy objects on top of chests of drawers or furniture not
intended for use with a television.
children from climbing on furniture.
- Avoid putting
tempting items (e.g. favourite toys, lollies, remote controls) on
top of furniture, as this may encourage climbing.
- Don’t place
unstable furniture in children’s bedrooms or near play areas.
others to anchor furniture around their homes, particularly if your children regularly visit (e.g. grandparents).
How to install anchoring devices
looking to install an anchoring device, you need to consider the weight and dimensions
of the furniture to ensure any anchor attachments are strong enough to hold the
It is also
very important to use the right anchoring device for the wall or floor material.
Different screws types are available for wood studs, plasterboard or masonry.
Consult with your local hardware retailer for advice.
If you are
unsure about how to install an anchoring device, or what anchor you need to
purchase, it is a good idea to talk to a professional (e.g. handyman or carpenter) who can install or advise you
renting a home, you should speak with your landlord or agent to get permission before
you install anchor devices to the wall or floors, but don’t let this process
put you off securing your furniture. Offer to repair damage (e.g. drill holes) caused by the installation of
any anchor devices once the tenancy ends. You should get approval in writing to
have a record of your agreement.
Tips when buying new furniture
When buying furniture, ask staff to advise on safer
options for homes with small children. You should also consider the following:
storage furniture that is low-set with a sturdy, wide base that sits directly
on the floor (rather than on legs).
- Look for
furniture that comes with safety information and appropriate equipment for
anchoring it to the floor or wall.
furniture in the shop before purchasing (e.g.
pull out a drawer and apply a little pressure to check that it is stable and
ensure drawers cannot be pulled out
During 2017, safety regulators reviewed retailers
across Australia and found that very few (only 12 per cent) supplied anchors for any furniture that required them. Although
there are no legal requirements or standards, the Australian Competition and Consumer
Commission (ACCC) has encouraged suppliers and retailers to ensure appropriate
anchoring devices are supplied to
consumers, better in-store signage is displayed, and warning labels are affixed
to products, to improve safety and reduce the risk of tip-overs.
points to remember
anchor furniture and televisions to the wall or floor using appropriate equipment.
children from climbing on furniture.
heavy items on the lower shelves or drawers of bookcases, wardrobes or
cupboards and install child-resistant
locks on drawers.
This information is awaiting routine review. Please always seek the most recent advice from a registered and practising clinician.
Developed by Community Information.