A research abstract presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 2018 National Conference & Exhibition has revealed that children are 2.5 times more likely to be hurt by falls from beds and sofas than they are from stair-related injuries.

The study found soft furnishings to have caused an average of 230,026 injuries per year to children under five years of age. The risks of soft furnishings have also been highlighted in Australia by Health Direct. The government funded site warns people not to fall asleep on a sofa with an infant or allow infants to sleep on a sofa due to the risk of fatal sleep accidents.

The dangers of soft furnishings to the safety of young children are real and plentiful, this blog will outline the direct and indirect risks of soft furnishings and provide links to safer alternatives.

Soft furnishings and falls

The head researcher and author, Viachaslau Bradko, of the American article and abstract, Bed and Sofa-Related Injuries to Young Children Treated in US Emergency Departments 2007-2016, highlighted the seriousness of soft furniture falls in children under five, saying “our research shows that these types of falls are now the most common source of injury in this age group”.

A soft bed and bedding are difficult to avoid but replacing your soft sofa or armchair is easily done. Serenity Made offers a range of sofas and armchairs with firm frames and bases.

Sturdy sofas like the Contemporary Design Living Room Sofa, the European Sofa and the Rectangle Box Sofa have one long cushion and a sturdy wooden base. Sturdy alternatives for armchairs are also available with Serenity Made offering commercial armchairs like the Ava Lounge Chair and smaller sofas like Wood Frame Leisure Sofa.

It’s important to note that, no matter the make of the sofa or armchair, children should always be supervised to avoid the risk of injuries from falling off, or asleep on, the sofa.

Soft furnishings and allergies

Two out of five Australian’s have allergies with the National Asthma Council Australia adding that many asthmatics can suffer from allergies. The Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) estimated that around 80% of people with asthma have tested positive to an allergy test. Allergies can trigger deadly asthma attacks so it’s important to avoid these allergy triggers.

Harmful allergens such as house dust mites, mould, pollen and pet hair can build up and collect in soft furnishings. Reduce your exposure to dust related allergens, such as dust mites, by removing and replacing soft furnishings such as carpets, curtains and even fabric sofas.

The Victoria State Government recommends leather, vinyl, plastic and wood instead of upholstered sofas, as upholstered furniture creates a welcoming, warm, humid and dark, environment for dust mites.

Commercial gradeleather sofas like the Classic Wood Frame Leather Sofa and the Double Seater Wood Frame Armchair are great alternatives to upholstered sofas. Plastic, rattan and wooden chairs are also great alternatives to fabric furniture and Serenity Made offers a wide range of commercial restaurant grade plastic, rattan and wood furnishings for you to choose from.

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.