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ACCC Probes TV And Furniture Toppling Hazards

The ACCC is investigating the dangers of furniture and TVs toppling over, which is a serious safety hazard especially to small children and seniors.

Since 2000, at least 27 people have died in Australia from being crushed by falling TVs and furniture such as bookshelves, chests of drawers, and entertainment units.

According to ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard, children under five and adults over 60 are most at risk from furniture falling over, with risks increased when the furniture is loaded with heavy items, is placed on carpet, or when its weight tips forward through ordinary use such as opening drawers and doors, as demonstrated by the below video from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“The weight of something like a bookshelf or large television falling on someone can result in serious injuries such as head injuries, broken bones, or death.

“Reports show that children may reach for items by stepping on drawers and shelves, and the added weight of even a small child can cause the furniture to become unstable and topple,” she said.

The consumer watchdog says while anchoring kits, often supplied with furniture or sold separately, are effective in preventing toppling accidents, consumers don’t always use them.

“Tip-over accidents can happen quickly and we encourage everyone to check their home for toppling hazards and to anchor any tall or unstable furniture or televisions, and to consider tip‑over safety when shopping for furniture.

“While some manufacturers are making efforts to address the safety risks, we are seeking feedback about what more can be done to prevent deaths and injuries from toppling furniture,” said Rickard.

The ACCC is seeking input from stakeholders, including industry, consumer groups, and medical professionals, as it compiles an issues paper on the subject.

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