Why You Should Secure Furniture In Your Home
You never expect the unexpected to happen but unfortunately for Western Australian Skye Quartermaine, and her family the unexpected did happen and their lives were never to be the same again.
Skye Quartermaine painfully lost her beautiful 22-month-old son, Reef Kite, after he was accidentally crushed by a chest of drawers at the family’s rented home in Perth in October 2015 and passed away. The most painful part of this tragedy was that it could have been avoided and Reef’s mum Skye had taken all the appropriate steps to ensure the safety of her home and her child.
Following the rental tenancy guidelines, Skye took the correct steps and requested from her landlord if she would be able to bolt a chest of drawers to the wall for her children’s safety. It is understood this request was allegedly declined by the owner of the property due to not wanting a hole placed into the wall of the property. On this occasion however that decision cost a child their life.
To ensure Reef’s life was not lost in vain however, Skye and her family are now on a mission to make sure no other family lose a child simply because they do not own their own home.
With her sister Dee, Skye is making waves for change by creating an amazing, not-for-profit organisation aptly named “Bolt it back for Reef”. For 6 years Skye and Dee have been campaigning for furniture, and child safety awareness advocating for new law reforms to allow tenants to secure furniture in their rental homes. A small hole left in a wall can be easily patched up, a child’s life cannot.
In 2019 Skye & Dee were successful is winning the Western Australian Consumer Protection Awards. These awards recognise and reward the positive contributions of individuals, local government authorities, organisations, businesses, and the media in advancing consumer advocacy in WA. They campaigned for law changes that would allow tenants to anchor furniture without requiring landlord approval, provided any damage is repaired. The WA Coroner’s Report into Reef’s death made this recommendation, and a bill was introduced in parliament in October 2018 to amend the Residential Tenancies Act which they hope all states will soon follow. There is still so much more awareness to be done however and we wanted to know what we could do to help.
Our team at Perma Child Safety recently donated 50 TV anchors to Skye and the Bold it back for Reef organisation for their local community and in-need mums. The aim is to make home safety accessible for all families no matter their circumstances which we are proud to be part of.
We were so excited to receive a recent update from Sky and Dee who shared with us that our TV safety anchors were distributed to a local childcare facility, a parenting support centre, Salvation Army, local baby shop, staff at Skillhire, and some local parents in need within the community. Knowing that there are a few more families who can rest easy at night makes what we do here at Perma Child Safety mean even more.
The ACCC Product Safety's recent report has identified anchoring furniture as 1 of 3 key safety factors that can influence the likelihood of items toppling over.
Sadly since 2001 at least 22 Australian children under the age of 9 have been tragically killed due to toppling furniture or televisions, with children under the age of 3 the highest at risk. A further estimated 2600 of Australians receive hospital treatment for injuries caused by toppling furniture and televisions each year which equates to approximately 50 per week!
At Perma Child Safety our aim is to ensure no child’s life is lost due to inadequate safety equipment or awareness of home hazards that should be avoided. Pre-preparation is key in ensuring your home is safe guarded against hazards in the home, so your child does not end up becoming another statistic. There is a plethora of accessible and low-cost child safety products available so make sure you have your at-home child safety checklist ready when you move into a new home and avoid accidents that could change your life forever. Here’s our top safe furniture tips below.
- Purchase low-set furniture or furniture with sturdy, stable and broad bases.
- Look for furniture that comes with safety information or equipment for anchoring to the walls. If not, you can source a variety of anchors and child safety latches from Perma Child Safety website.
- Test the furniture before you buy – check for sturdiness, pull out the top drawers of tallboys, and chest of drawers applying a little pressure to check stability.
- Secure furniture to walls and floors by mounting or bolting furniture to walls and floors.
- Do not put heavy items on the top shelves on bookcases.
- Secure televisions to the wall.
- Do not place confiscated toys or items of interest on ‘out of reach” high-set shelves. It can encourage small children to climb up on furniture.
- Do not place furniture near windows or where children play. Can climb to look outside or become play equipment.
- Put locking devices or safety latches on all drawers to prevent children opening them and using them as steps.
By being prepared and standing up for our children’s right to a safe home we can reduce the number of at-home child fatalities and ensure no-one has to go through what Skye and her family went through. To offer your support to Bolt it Back to Reef head to their facebook page HERE and give them a follow to help change the laws regarding rental properties and child safety.