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New standards for furniture

New standards have been set in place to reduce the risk of harm through toppling furniture, the ACCC announced this week.

Furniture suppliers will now be required to provide safety warnings to consumers about the hazards, after the Assistant Treasurer, the Hon. Stephen Jones, made a new information standard for toppling furniture.

Since 2000, 28 people, including 17 children under five, have died in Australia from toppling furniture, and each year more than 900 Australians suffer injuries requiring medical assistance. Children aged up to 4 years are most at risk, with older Australians also vulnerable.

Furniture such as chests of drawers, wardrobes, bookshelves, TV units or other tall items which are not properly secured, can topple over when young children attempt to climb on, or pull themselves up on, those items of furniture.

The new standard requires suppliers to provide safety warnings and advice about how to reduce potential risk to consumers before, during and after purchasing furniture.

The new measures aside, what else can consumers do to ensure a safe environment in their homes? The ACCC offers the following tips about shopping for new furniture:

– Examine the furniture to make sure it is stable.
– Pull out any top drawers of a chest of drawers or open doors on other furniture items and apply a little pressure to see how stable the furniture is.
– Make sure the drawers don’t fall out easily.
– Look for built-in drawer stops that limit how far drawers can be extended or interlocks that prevent more than one drawer being opened at a time.
– Look for furniture with sturdy backing material which increases stability.
– Look for low-set furniture, or furniture with a sturdy, stable and broad base. It’s less likely to tip over.

They also suggest that the best way to prevent furniture from tipping over is to secure it to the wall or floor. What you’ll need depends on what your wall or floor is made of, and what kind of furniture you’re working with. There are different kinds of wall and floor anchors available.

If your furniture doesn’t come with anchoring hardware, ask about anchors and buy what you need from a furniture retailer, hardware store or a specialty store for baby goods.

As well as securing your furniture and TVs, here are some things you can do to use furniture safely:

– Keep heaviest items at the bottom of your drawers or shelves. Furniture that is top-heavy is easier to tip over.
– Do not place heavy items such as TVs or items that are attractive to children on top of furniture.
– Put locking devices on all drawers. They help prevent children from opening them and using them as steps.

The toppling furniture information standard was made by the Assistant Treasurer on 3 May 2024, following a recommendation by the ACCC.

About Adam Nobel

CEO | Principal
M. Bus, Grad Dip Adv, B.Int Bus, LREA

adam@hugoalexander.com.au

0417 007 001

Adam is the founder and Principal of Hugo Alexander Property Group. With a previous career in advertising, 22 years experience in property investment, and 16 years in Brisbane real estate, he knows the market inside out to ensure his clients grow their wealth faster.

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