Toppling furniture and televisions

Heavy household items like televisions, bookshelves and drawers can topple (tip) over if they’re not anchored to a wall.

Protect yourself and your children from toppling furniture by securing unstable and heavy items in place.

This page has information on:

Risks and injuries

Did you know? An estimated 2,600 Australians are injured by toppling furniture and televisions each year. 30 per cent of injuries required urgent medical attention.

Hundreds of children suffer injuries every year from furniture or TVs toppling over.

Toppling furniture can cause significant blunt impact injuries.

Safety requirements

Furniture comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and free-standing furniture can be a toppling hazard. If there is a chance a child will climb on it, there is a good chance that furniture could tip over.

While there are no mandatory safety requirements for toppling furniture in Australia, there are a few voluntary guidelines and product standards that require safety and stability measures in place.

These include the Best practice guide for furniture and television tip-over prevention, developed by the National Retail Association. It recommends TV and furniture suppliers:

  • provide products with anchor devices that are fit for purpose
  • provide consumer information about tip-over hazards and the various ways to anchor 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.

Standards Australia also developed:

  • AS/NZS 4935:2009 Domestic furniture - Freestanding chests of drawers, wardrobes and bookshelves/bookcases - Determination of stability
  • AS/NZS 60065:2018 Audio, video and similar electronic apparatus - Safety requirements.

Watch the safety video below for useful information about how to anchor furniture and TVs.

Your consumer rights

As a consumer, you have the right to expect that the goods you buy are safe.

Australian Consumer Law requires safety standards to be met before certain goods are sold. These standards include:

  • the way the good is made
  • what it contains
  • how it works
  • the tests it needs to pass
  • whether any warnings or instructions need to accompany it.

Individual suppliers who breach Australian Consumer Law can be fined up to $220,000, while corporations can be fined up to $1.1 million.

How to report a product safety concern

"If a child is injured or you require urgent medical assistance, don’t delay - contact your GP or call 000 immediately."

If you become aware of an unsafe situation or item, whether or not anyone has been injured:

  1. Alert the supplier about the issue.
  2. You can also report it us by calling 13 32 20 or making a complaint online, or report the matter to Product Safety Australia.

Be a savvy consumer

Prevent toppling furniture accidents

Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye.

  • Secure TVs and any tall furniture in the home to walls with anchoring devices.
  • Purchase low-set furniture or furniture with sturdy stable and deep bases.
  • Install child-resistant drawer locks to prevent drawers from being opened and climbed on.
  • Do not use TV cabinets with drawers immediately under the TV. The likelihood of furniture overturning increases when a loaded drawer is opened.
  • Do not place the remote control (or other items attractive to children) on top of the TV where they may try to reach them.
  • If you’re renting a home, talk to your landlord or agent to get permission to install a furniture strap, angle brace or anchor to the wall. Explain why you want to install the device and assure them that if any damage is caused by the installation, you will repair it when the tenancy ends. Make sure you get the landlord or agent’s approval in writing. Go to the make an alteration page on our website for more information.

Further information

Browse our Product safety section for more information on a range of product types including baby and children’s products, gas and electrical goods, and other consumer items.

The Product Safety Australia website is managed by the ACCC and has lots of information on product safety and national recalls.

Go to Kidsafe NSW for information to help make your home safe for young children.

Suppliers can find out more about their responsibilities on the selling safe products page.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Call us on 13 32 20 or submit an online enquiry.

Who enforces Australian Consumer Law?

The following agencies enforce provisions relating to consumer goods and services:

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is responsible for financial products and services.

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