Toppling furniture is still creating havoc

Did you know more than 2,600 Australians have to go to hospital for injuries caused by toppling furniture and televisions each year?

Since 2001 at least 22 children under the age of nine have died in Australia from toppling furniture or televisions, with children under three years of age at greatest risk.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), in partnership with Kidsafe, has launched a national awareness campaign urging parents to check their homes for dangerous and potentially deadly situations caused by unstable furniture including bookcases, drawers, wardrobes, sideboards and TVs.

ACCC acting chair, Delia Rickard, says the organisation will continue to work with retailers to increase awareness about the dangers of unstable furniture.

“This includes ensuring retailers supply appropriate anchoring devices to consumers, better in-store signage is displayed, and warning labels are affixed to products,” she says.

Earlier this year the ACCC announced its product safety priorities for 2018, including a focus on online shopping and furniture safety. This year it will target nine critical safety issues facing Australian consumers, including improving the safety of toppling furniture.

Speaking at the National Consumer Congress in Sydney, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the organisation is also advocating for the introduction of a general safety provision into Australian consumer law.

“Most consumers are surprised to learn that it is not illegal to sell unsafe products in Australia. Indeed they purchase products with the expectation that they are safe,” he said.

“Consumers put their trust in suppliers and known brand names as we are generally not in a position to assess hidden safety hazards at the point of sale ourselves.”

By Marion Gerritsen