Each year hundreds of children suffer injuries as a result of furniture and televisions toppling on them, with some suffering fatal injuries.
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that the Guide is all about the retail industry taking the lead and recognising the role it plays in consumer safety.
“The NRA developed this Guide in consultation with a range of businesses and with support from the ACCC, the Australian Furniture Association (AFA), and the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA),” Ms Lamb said.
“I’m proud to say that the NRA is showing leadership in developing strategies and guidance material that aims at improving the safety of young children.
“The Best Practice Guide will enable retailers to work constructively with the suppliers of furniture and televisions in order to provide safer products that educate consumers on the importance of anchoring their product once they set it up.
“Providing education at the point of sale is the most effective time to inform consumers on the ways to most safely operate the product they have just purchased.”
The Guide provides a series of recommendations such as the development of a company policy that addresses tip-over hazards, the supply of anchor devices and display warnings for tall furniture and televisions that strongly advises the use of anchors.
Best Practice Guide
In an effort to educate consumers, retailers and manufacturers about the dangers of toppling furniture, and the steps that should be taken to prevent this, the National Retail Association has released a Best Practice Guide for Furniture and Television Tip-Over Prevention.
The Guide was developed by the National Retail Association, in consultation with a range of businesses and with support from the ACCC, the Australian Furniture Association (AFA) and the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA).
The Guide recommends that suppliers of furniture and televisions:
- develop a company policy that outlines systems to address tip-over hazards associated with their products and states their commitment to support the policy
- affix to the products (or supply with them) anchor devices that are fit for the purpose
- provide consumer information about tip-over hazards and prevention that includes warning labels
- in user / assembly instructions
- on any packaging, including for flat-packed furniture, and
- on the product
- develop and maintain staff training programs and manuals about furniture and television consumer safety initiatives
- provide consumer literature illustrating the various means of anchoring furniture and televisions
- display warnings in the vicinity of tall furniture and televisions strongly advising consumers to use anchors to secure them to a wall or other building structure
The guide focuses on improving furniture and television stability through design, pre-installing anchor devices and educating consumers at point of sale. It covers products such as chests of drawers, wardrobes, shelving as well as televisions.
The best practice guide contains advice on:
- furniture design
- roles for manufacturers, importers and retailers
- types of anchoring devices
- effective user instructions
- consumer education
Using this guide, retailers can work with their suppliers to provide safer products. But with this consumer safety issue, consumers also have a key role to play.
As well as building safety into products, retailers who follow the best practice guide will help educate consumers on the importance of anchoring their product once they get it home.
Other consumer product associations such as the Australian Furniture Associations and the Consumer Electronics Suppler Association (for televisions) support the NRA in this initiative.
- Attach, mount, bolt or otherwise secure furniture and televisions to walls and floors.
- Put locking devices on all drawers to prevent children opening them and using them as steps.
- Do not put heavy items on top shelves of bookcases.
- Discourage small children from climbing on furniture.
- Do not put tempting items such as favourite toys on top of furniture that encourages children to climb up and reach.
- Do not place unstable furniture near where children play.
- Look for furniture that comes with anchoring devices. If it doesn’t include them, ask whether they’re available in the store.
- Purchase low-set furniture or furniture with sturdy, stable and broad bases.
- Tell retail staff if you have small children in your home so they can advise you about safer options.
- Ask if your retailer applies the Best Practice Guide to their product range.