Call to change tenancy laws - fitting furniture to walls

Residential Tenancy Amendment Bill 2024 

Kidsafe Tasmania welcomes the Residential Tenancy Amendment Bill 2024 which was tabled today in Parliament and commends the Tasmanian Government on its introduction. CEO Jenny Branch-Allen expressed strong support for this positive legislative move, which will help protect children in rental properties from the dangers of toppling furniture—a hazard that can lead to serious injury or even death among young people.

Click here to download the full media release.

This bill aligns with our mission to make all homes safer for children and is consistent with the ACCC toolkit that can be downloaded below.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have prepared a draft Toppling Furniture product – consumer safety messaging Stakeholder toolkit on the dangers of toppling furniture and ongoing awareness campaigns.

Toppling Furniture cover



Call for urgent changes to tenancy laws

Since 2001 at least 22 children under the age of 9 have died in Australia from toppling furniture or televisions, with children under 3 years of age at greatest risk.

As we focus on National Kidsafe Day, Kidsafe Australia is calling for urgent changes to rental tenancy laws around the country to enable the securing of televisions and other heavy items to walls and floors, in a bid to prevent serious tip over injuries and deaths.  

Kidsafe Australia takes the opportunity to remind parents, grandparents & carers that small children's curiosity and lack of awareness of danger places them at increased risk of injury from TV and furniture tip overs.

“Children are naturally inquisitive and common household furniture can look very different and interesting from a toddler's perspective - for example, they may see items of furniture like bookcases and shelves as a ladder to gain access to reach an item that is stored up high”, said Mrs Branch-Allen Kidsafe Tasmania CEO.

Kidsafe Australia has urged State and Territory Governments throughout Australia to follow recent action by the Victorian  and Western Australian Governments and pass changes to legislation to allow renters to make minor approved  modifications to their home without requiring permission from the landlord. This includes the act of securing televisions  and other heavy items to walls and floors to prevent tip-over incidents.

Kidsafe Tasmania is advocating for the Tasmanian Government to follow Victoria and Western Australia’s lead.

In the interim, parents, grandparents and carers are being urged to be proactive and check every room in their home for  toppling hazards and anchor any tall or unstable furniture or large TVs to prevent injury to children.

Furniture Safety Tips
Top Five Tips to Reduce the Risk of Furniture Tip Overs

  • Select furniture with broad and stable bases.
  • Secure any unstable furniture such as bookcases and televisions to the wall or floor with brackets.
  • Do not leave any items such as bottles, toys or remote controls on top of furniture that may tempt young children
  • to climb up to reach them.
  • Only place TVs on furniture designed specifically to hold them.
  • Lock drawers to prevent children opening them and using them as steps.

CEO Jenny Branch-Allen says Lauren Phillips Story always sticks with her:  

Popular Australian television presenter, Lauren Phillips, found herself underneath a 3-metre-tall bookshelf when she was just 4 years old. She was visiting some friends with her family and distinctly remembers:

“Right at the top of the bookshelf there was a cabbage patch kid I was desperate to get my hands on. So, I climbed up the bookshelf – but it wasn’t attached to the wall. As I climbed, the whole thing fell, like in slow motion. I ended up underneath it.”

“It had totally smashed my face in, I’d bitten through my tongue, split my face. The way the shelves fell, one went above my head and one on my shoulder. The doctor said that if it had been just a few centimetres either way, it could have got me right across the neck and broken my neck.”

Lauren hopes that sharing her story will help spread awareness about the dangers of furniture tip-overs and how they can be prevented, advising that the bookshelf:
“Should have been attached to the wall – it was an accident waiting to happen.”