Every year many children are injured from furniture or appliances tipping onto them. Children are naturally inquisitive and will not always use furniture as it is intended – for example, they may use bookcases and shelves as a ladder to gain access to reach an item that is stored up high.
Between 2006 – 2010, 297 Victorian children aged 0-14 years presented to emergency departments with an injury resulting from a TV tip over. The majority of incidents involved children under 4 years of age, with the peak of incidents occurring in children aged 2 years.
Kidsafe and the ACCC have partnered to launch a new campaign about the dangers of furniture and TV tip overs. As part of the campaign, parents Tim and Kirstie bravely share the story of their 3-year-old son Blake Shaw, who tragically died when a freestanding bookcase fell on him in August 2016.
The good news is that there are some simple measures you can take around your home to keep your children safe, including:
- Choosing furniture items with a broad and stable base
- Testing the stability of furniture to make sure it is stable (e.g. pull out top drawers of a chest of drawers and apply a little pressure to see how stable it is; make sure the drawers do not fall out easily)
- Securing any unstable furniture and items to the wall or floor with furniture brackets and/or anchors (some furniture products will come with these products, otherwise you can purchase them from hardware stores)
- Placing locking devices on all drawers to prevent children opening them and using them as steps
- Not placing heavy items on the top shelves or in top drawers as this can make furniture unstable
- Removing items from the top of the TV or furniture that might tempt young children to climb, such as toys, lollies and remote controls.
- Anchoring your flat screen TV to the wall or cabinet
- Pushing the TV as far back as possible on the TV stand