CPSC Updates Mandatory Federal Safety Standard to Prevent Furniture Tip-Overs October 26, 2022
Recently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a new federal mandatory safety standard for clothing storage units to limit injuries and deaths associated with tip-overs. Children face the highest risks for sustaining this type of injury, which often involves clothing storage units like dressers, chests, bureaus, armoires, wardrobes, chests of drawers and door chests.
Every year, children are killed in furniture tip-over incidents. According to the CPSC, there were 234 fatalities that resulted from tip-overs between 2000 and 2022; 199 of the deaths were children between the ages of one month and 14-years-old. In addition to the fatalities, there were 84,100 furniture tip-over-related injuries that required visits to the emergency room from 2006 to 2022 (approximately 5,300 per year). The CPSC staff estimates that 72% of these injuries occurred in children. In the last 20 years, the agency has recalled 43 clothing storage units due to tip-over hazards, which involved more than 21 million units.
New Federal Requirements
The CPSC’s new standard requires the following:
- Clothing storage units must exceed the agency’s minimum stability requirements
- Clothing storage units manufacturers must display important safety and identification information
- Manufacturers must also display a hang tag that provides performance and technical data pertaining to the product’s stability
- Test methods for clothing storage units with interlocks. Interlocks can improve clothing storage units stability by preventing all drawers from being opened at the same time
Anchor It: Securing Furniture at Home
When a piece of furniture or an appliance falls on someone – in particular a small child – it can inflict broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and cause suffocation and crush-related trauma. The CPSC’s new standard offers comprehensive protections that will prevent tip-overs from happening. There are also steps you can take at home to safeguard against these incidents. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following:
- Secure all furniture and mirrors with anti-tip devices. This may require relocating furniture so the wall anchors can be placed into a stud
- Consider using furniture and wall anchors that are metal, like “L” brackets. Unlike metal, plastic can become brittle over time and break, causing anchors to fail. Counterfeit and/or knock off anchors also pose a problem on some websites, so keep an eye out for those. Although well-known name brand products are slightly pricier, they are worth the price for safety
- The heavier the furniture, the more anchors you should use to prevent it from tipping over
- In dressers and other clothing storage units, place heavier objects on the lowest shelves or drawers and lighter objects in higher ones
- Avoid putting items like toys, electronics, and remotes in high places, no matter where the furniture is. This can tempt children to climb
- Install dresser drawer stops or safety straps so your child is unable to pull drawers out all the way. Use the kind that attach on the outside of the drawer and side of a dresser, or magnet locks. Remember to store the magnet key in a safe place out of sight and out of reach of children
- Never place a TV on top of a dresser, especially in a child’s room or playroom. If you have an old tube-style television, replace it with a flat-screen
- Mount flat-screen televisions to the wall or to furniture. Use anti-tip devices for TVs that aren’t wall mounted
You can also read more information through the CPSC’s Anchor It! campaign here: https://www.anchorit.gov/. If you have a legal question or concern, someone at our firm can help. Contact a representative online now to learn more.
Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Represent Injured Victims of Furniture Tip-Overs
If you have a question about filing a legal claim, contact the Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.