Across Australia at least 22 children, under nine-years-old, have died from unsecured televisions or furniture since 2001. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) also detailed the high rate of injuries from fallen furniture and TVs, estimating that per week an average of 50 Australians receive hospital treatment for injuries caused by fallen furniture and televisions.
high rate of deaths and injuries from fallen items and the tragic death of
Kite, has sparked wide spread discussion and the introduction of Reef’s
law into state parliament. Reef’s law
will allow renters to secure furniture to the wall, without the permission from
the landlord, to protect young children from injury and prevent deaths like
Securing TVs and furniture to the wall or floor with a mount or bolt can save lives, but there are more ways to protect young children from furniture.
The dangers of drawers
Among bolting to the floor and securing items to the wall, the ACCC urges people to discourage children from climbing furniture and to use drawer locks to stop children from opening drawers.
Drawers on tallboys and desks are commonly opened by young children and used as stairs to climb up the furniture, the weight on the furniture causes it to topple over and injure or kill the child.
Remove the risk of children opening and climbing the drawers by using furniture without drawers. Drawerless desks and tables like the Double Pronged Hairpin Table are practical and safe for the bedroom, hallway and the office.
Climbing on furniture is not the only way furniture can topple over and
injure children with unstable or overloaded furniture also causing harm. Blake
Shaw was one of the many children killed from unstable furniture, the three-year-old died in 2016
from an unsafe and unsecure bookcase.
Secure your furniture correctly with bolts and screws or opt for built-in furniture over free-standing furniture. Families with rentals may be unable to construct built-in wardrobes and bookcases, but there are other safe furniture options available.
Furniture recommendations and safety tips
The ACCC recommends low-set furniture as it has a lower risk of toppling over. Heavy low-set furniture not only has a lower risk of toppling, but the heavy weight removes the risk of children pushing it to a window, where they could be injured or killed from a window fall. Just as placing furniture away from windows will reduce the risk of window falls, the placement of furniture can also reduce the risk of climbing.
Refrain from placing furniture near play areas as this unsafe furniture placement may increase the risk of climbing. Try discouraging children from climbing on the furniture and remove the temptation of climbing by ensuring there are no toys or wanted items on top of the furniture.
Following these furniture recommendations, placement tips and safety guidelines will help create a safer space for your children and reduce the risk harm from toppling furniture.
By Tia Somerville
About the author – A trained journalist with a passion for writing well rounded articles on a variety of topics. Follow @tia_somerville to read more written work, and see some visual and audio pieces, that will educate and inspire you.