After years of injuries and, in some instances, fatalities of children due to furniture tip-overs, federal regulators have given the green light to new compulsory safety measures for dressers and similar clothing storage furniture sold in the U.S.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission ratified a rule last week that applies to dressers, wardrobes, armoires, and other similar items, with the aim of safeguarding children up to the age of 72 months from the dangers of unstable furniture.
The new rule has been hailed as a significant step towards household safety by consumer advocates, furniture industry trade groups, and a collective of parents who have experienced the tragic loss of their children due to furniture tip-overs.
In a statement after the vote, the group Parents Against Tip-Overs declared, “Today is a monumental day for tip-over prevention that has been long overdue. If this stability rule had been in place two decades ago, our children would still be with us.”
Between January 2000 and April 2022, at least 234 deaths were attributed to tip-overs of clothing storage units, according to the CPSC, with children making up 199 of these fatalities. The agency’s estimate suggests that approximately 5,300 injuries from clothing storage tip-overs resulted in hospital visits annually from 2006 to 2021.
Kids in Danger, another group, estimates that every day, six children are rushed to the emergency room due to furniture tip-overs, with a child’s life lost every fortnight.
The inception of the new standard followed President Biden’s enactment of the STURDY Act in December, necessitating the CPSC to establish a mandatory safety standard for clothing storage units.
The law stipulated that the standard must include specific criteria, such as tests simulating the weight of children up to 60 pounds, and incorporating real-world situations like being on a carpet or having multiple drawers open simultaneously.
In the previous year, the CPSC ratified its own compulsory standard for dressers and similar furniture. However, the American Home Furnishings Alliance sought to nullify the rule in court, arguing that its scope was overly extensive.
The CPSC’s newly approved standard, developed by the standards organization ASTM, will supersede the previous one. Both consumer groups and furniture manufacturers endorse this new standard.
Richard L. Trumka Jr., the lone commissioner out of four to oppose the new standard, accused the Commission of succumbing to “external pressure” and opting for weaker rules, which he believed were opposed by the agency’s technical experts.
Trumka predicted that, due to the disparity between the two standards, at least one child would die each year from a tip-over, and stated, “Consumers are now resigned to the fact that more children will tragically lose their lives in tip-over accidents.”
Trumka added, “I wonder who will be responsible for explaining today’s decision to the parents. Who will tell them that the Commission has let them down because it chose the easiest path, not the one that could have saved their child’s life.”
The final regulation will become enforceable 120 days after its publication in the Federal Register. The AHFA has informed its members that they anticipate the rule will be operational by late August or September.
CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
Don’t Let the Economic and Emotional Costs of a Dress Tip-Over Accident Overwhelm You – Choose Parker Waichman LLP for Compassionate and Expert Legal Representation
If your child has been injured or killed due to a dresser tipping over, don’t wait another moment to seek justice. Parker Waichman LLP is here to help you and your family hold those responsible accountable. Our experienced team of attorneys will fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve. Don’t suffer in silence – call us now at 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529) for a free consultation and take the first step towards justice for your family.
New York | Brooklyn | Queens | Long Island | New Jersey | Florida
Call us at: 1-800-YOURLAWYER (800-968-7529) | Schedule your free consultation