Furniture for storing clothes such as wardrobes and armoires is essential for any home. These pieces are vital for everyday living unless a homeowner wants to leave their clothes out in the open.
However, these furniture pieces can also be dangerous, especially for young children. They’re usually heavy, even without clothes inside them, and they can crush children who manage to tip them over.
Fortunately, a new rule this September would establish mandatory safety standards for clothing storage furniture manufacturers.
In effect on September 01, the Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth (STURDY) Act requires furniture makers to test their dressers for stability. Manufacturers should also provide anchoring kits for their wardrobes and dressers as part of the new rules.
Before the new law, safety experts with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) noted that there was only a voluntary testing standard for furniture manufacturers, so not all dresser makers chose to participate. CPSC added that the old safety standards failed to consider real-world conditions as hundreds died and thousands more suffered injuries due to tip-overs.
The risk of furniture tip-overs
Furniture tip-overs are a real danger.
According to the CPSC, at least 234 recorded fatalities resulted from clothing storage unit tip-overs from January 2000 to April 2020. Of that number, 199 were child deaths. Tip-overs happen when children try to climb the dressers or push them over on another child.
While the STURDY Act hopes to address this risk, the rule has a caveat: it only applies to furniture made and sold before September 01, 2023. Any furniture made before the law’s passage can still be sold without proper testing and anchoring kits. Anyone who owns older furniture still risks exposing themselves and their children to tip-over risks.
What to do when a furniture tip-over happens
Young children are likely to suffer closed head injuries and concussions, though broken bones and other crush injuries are also possible. Parents of children injured in tip-overs should seek immediate medical attention.
If parents have purchased a dresser produced under the new rules that still manages to cause a tip-over injury or death, they should consider filing a product liability lawsuit. They may be able to hold the manufacturer responsible for the accident if they can prove that the furniture maker made an unsafe and defective product.
Anyone planning to file a product liability lawsuit should consult a legal professional first to determine if they have enough evidence to pursue a case.