Parents and carers are being urged their homes for toppling hazards, with statistics showing at least 22 kids under the age of nine have died from falling furniture and TVs since 2001.
Kidsafe Australia has issued the safety reminder to coincide with National Kidsafe Day on October 23.
Melanie Courtney, Kidsafe Victoria CEO, said small children’s curiosity and lack of awareness of danger placed them at increased risk of injury from TV and furniture tip overs.
“This is why it’s important that anyone who has young children in their home – either living there or visiting – is aware of the dangers,” Ms Courtney said.
Television presenter Lauren Phillips found herself underneath a three-metre-tall bookshelf when she was just 4 years old while visiting some friends with her family.
“Right at the top of the bookshelf there was a cabbage patch kid I was desperate to get my hands on,” she recalled.
“So, I climbed up the bookshelf – but it wasn’t attached to the wall. As I climbed, the whole thing fell, like in slow motion. I ended up underneath it.
“It had totally smashed my face in, I’d bitten through my tongue, split my face.
“The way the shelves fell, one went above my head and one on my shoulder. The doctor said that if it had been just a few centimetres either way, it could have got me right across the neck and broken my neck.”
Lauren hopes that sharing her story will help spread awareness about the dangers of furniture tip-overs and how they can be prevented, advising that the bookshelf:
“Should have been attached to the wall – it was an accident waiting to happen.”
Kidsafe Australia has urged state and territory governments to follow recent action by the Victorian and Western Australian Governments and pass changes to legislation to allow renters to make minor approved modifications to their home without requiring permission from the landlord.
This includes the act of securing televisions and other heavy items to walls and floors to prevent tip-over incidents.
In the interim, parents, grandparents and carers are being urged to be proactive and check every room in their home for toppling hazards and anchor any tall or unstable furniture or large TVs to prevent injury to children.
Top Five Tips to Reduce the Risk of Furniture Tip Overs
– Select furniture with broad and stable bases
– Secure any unstable furniture such as bookcases and televisions to the wall or floor with brackets
– Do not leave any items such as bottles, toys or remote controls on top of furniture that may tempt young children to climb up to reach them
– Only place TVs on furniture designed specifically to hold them
– Use locks on drawers to prevent children opening them and using them as steps