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Furniture stability

You may have hidden dangers in your home that can affect toddlers.

Think safety first with these helpful tips.

Hazards

Small children can climb on furniture such as freestanding bookcases, drawers, wardrobes and sideboards. If the furniture is unsecured, the child's weight can cause it to topple.

Falling furniture can not only strike a child, but it can trap and crush them underneath.

Injuries can include:

  • broken bones
  • brain injuries
  • blunt force trauma
  • crushed chest cavities
  • death by asphyxiation.

An estimated 2,600 Australians receive hospital treatment for injuries caused by toppling furniture and televisions each year (about 50 per week).

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Look for stable-based furniture

Choose furniture with a broad solid base and wide legs to keep them well balanced. They are less likely to tip if a small child climbs onto them.

Test before you buy

Test the furniture while you’re in the shop. Apply a little pressure to make sure it’s stable.

Check any type of furniture that has drawers as young children will climb up them like a flight of stairs. Pull out the top drawer and press down on the inside. Make sure that the drawers don’t fall out easily.

Look for furniture that comes with safety information or equipment for anchoring it to the walls.

Secure any unstable furniture

If you have any doubts about whether your furniture is stable, secure it using furniture straps, angle braces, or anchors screwed into wall studs. You can buy these from a hardware store.

Secure televisions to the wall and do not put heavy items on top shelves of bookcases.

Choose safe tables

Choose tables that won’t tip over if a child climbs on them.

Glass tables should be made of toughened glass. Ask the retailer if you are not sure.

Use child-resistant locks on all drawers

Locks are a good way of preventing children from opening drawers and using them as steps.

You should also consider locks for cupboards storing chemicals, cleaning fluids and other poisons.

Don't tempt your child

Never place tempting items on top of furniture, including:

  • feeding bottles
  • favourite toys
  • remote controls.

This encourages children to climb up and reach for them.

Making fixture or structural changes to rental properties

If you’re renting, talk to your landlord or agent to get permission to install a furniture strap, angle brace or anchor to the wall. Make sure you get the landlord or agent’s approval in writing.

Read more about requesting fixtures and structural changes to a rental property.