Real life example – the need to anchor furniture
A new video has gone viral showing twin toddlers in the USA climbing on an unanchored chest of drawers.
The footage is extraordinary for several reasons:
- that it was all captured on video
- the good fortune that neither toddler was crushed by the dresser
- the tenacity and strength of one twin to save the other
- the bravery of the parents for sharing, knowing they will cop hate comments on social media
It is also notable that:
- the need to anchor furniture had not been recognised by the parents, despite government education campaigns and retailer publicity
- the parents had not recognised the level of risk before the incident enough to act to anchor the dresser despite warnings and instructions that IKEA supplies with its furniture
Some claims have been circulating that the video of the twins is a hoax. Here’s a clip from YouTube where a concerned father analyses the situation. He concludes it’s unlikely to be a hoax; and in any event, the main message it anchor your furniture.
Anchoring furniture to the wall is critical to prevent the risk of it falling onto young children. Some furniture comes with anchor tethers fitted. Others require consumers to acquire their own, but these are readily available at hardware stores and are easy to fit.
Australian consumer affairs agencies have produced an excellent video that explains the need for and how to anchor.
. . . and attach drawer locks
Even though the dresser in the US video that fell on the boys hadn’t been anchored, use of drawer locks could have prevented the tip-over. Children will open drawers to use as aids to climbing, as the video clearly shows. Using locking devices can prevent children opening the drawers. Drawer locks are available at hardware and nursery product stores and are even easier to install than anchors.
Furniture sold in Australia
Following on from my blog article Furniture Tip-overs – safety strategy, I am currently chairing a working group of the National Retail Association’s technical standards committee to develop guidelines for retailers and manufacturers on providing anchors with furniture sold in Australia and educating consumer at point of purchase. The document will help all suppliers understand how to provide anchoring and instructions for installation.
Update: The guide was published on 3 April 2017 and is available on the NRA’s website at no cost.