Every year, furniture tip-overs cause numerous cases of head trauma, internal injuries or suffocation. These accidents often require urgent medical attention such as resuscitation and can even result in death.
The OECD carried out a global awareness campaign in November 2017 which aimed to alert parents and other stakeholders about the dangers posed to children (particularly those aged 1-3 years) by television, furniture and appliance tip-overs. The campaign stressed the need to secure furniture to a wall or other structure if it is prone to tip, and to encourage other preventative action in homes, particularly where young children live or visit. It also called on suppliers of furniture and televisions to ensure that the products they supply are safe and fit for purpose.
The campaign was coordinated by Health Canada and Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission. Participating countries and jurisdicitions include Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the European Commission, France, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Russian Federation, Turkey and the United States.
It is natural for children to want to reach, climb, and pull themselves up onto furniture and explore. Furniture, appliances, and televisions can easily tip-over in an instant, causing serious injuries to children and even death.
Certain types of furniture, such as tall bookcases and tallboys, can be particularly unstable especially if they are heavily loaded with typical household items like books, televisions or other appliances. Cupboards, free-standing mirrors, and chests of drawers can also become unstable if climbed on or tipped-over. Every year, children also pull large televisions onto themselves and are crushed.
Suppliers of furniture and televisions should ensure the products they supply are safe and fit for the purpose. The following safety initiatives will help to ensure such products do not cause serious injuries or death due to being unstable and/or unsecured.
Video produced by ACCC Product Safety, Australia
Video produced by Health Canada
Video produced by anchorit.gov and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, United States
Video in Spanish produced by the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce, Colombia