26 September 2023

ACCC to take tips on toppling furniture

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is looking to reduce the dangers posed by toppling furniture and protect children and the elderly.

Releasing the Toppling furniture consultation paper, Deputy Chair of the ACCC, Delia Rickard said toppling furniture had killed at least 28 people in Australia since 2000 and was causing close to 20 injuries every week.

Ms Rickard said the ACCC was seeking feedback until 13 June on ways to reduce the dangers posed by toppling furniture.

She said the Consultation Paper outlined a range of proposed regulatory options aimed at improving product design, increasing wall-fitted anchoring, and consumer education.

“Children under the age of five are most at risk of serious harm from toppling furniture, and the most common furniture involved in accidents includes chests of drawers, wardrobes, bookcases, cabinets and entertainment units,” Ms Rickard said.

“Toppling furniture accidents are estimated to cause about 900 injuries requiring medical attention every year with a particular impact on young children, but which can also injure the elderly,” she said.

“These accidents can happen very quickly, and the risks increase when there is an uneven distribution of stored items or when children climb on furniture.”

Ms Rickard reminded parents and carers to check their home for toppling hazards and to anchor any tall or unstable furniture.

To reduce the risk of heavy furniture items falling on people, the Deputy Chair said consumers should look for furniture that came with safety information and equipment for anchoring it to the walls.

“Keep your heaviest items in the bottom drawers or shelves, because furniture that is top heavy is easier to tip over,” she said.

“Put locking devices on drawers to prevent children opening them and using them as steps.”

Ms Rickard also advised people not to place heavy items such as TVs or items that were attractive to children on top of furniture.

The ACCC’s 43-page Consultation Paper can be accessed at this PS News link and additional safety tips on toppling furniture at this link.

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