CPSC Approves Final Consumer Safety Standard to Prevent Furniture Tip-Overs
June 18, 2023
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently voted to adopt mandatory safety standards to protect infants and young children from furniture tip-overs, which all too often culminate in serious injuries and fatalities. Tip-over injuries are typically associated with armoires, dressers, wardrobes, and other clothing storage units. The CPSC is aware of 234 deaths in the last 22 years that can be attributed to tip-over incidents; 199 were children.
In December of 2022, STURDY was signed into law. STURDY stands for Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth. For the CPSC to adopt the previously voluntary standards
as a mandatory one, it had to meet several performance requirements as prescribed by STURDY. Here are just a few examples of the requirements:
- Tests for stability when the furniture unit is placed on carpeting
- Tests that simulate the weight of children up to 60 pounds interacting directly with the unit
- Tests for stability with loaded drawers and multiple drawers open
Taking further action to prevent furniture tip-overs is critical: the CPSC estimates that approximately 5,300 individuals – primarily children – receive medical treatment in a U.S. emergency rooms for tip-over-related injuries each year. The CPSC is hopeful that manufacturers will focus on making safer clothing storage units to comply with the requirements as laid out by the new standard. The Commission will be actively monitoring the marketplace to ensure that manufacturers are abiding by the requirements and will enforce recalls, alerts, and penalties against manufacturers of dangerous or defective units.
The Commission voted 3 to 1 to adopt the voluntary standard as a mandatory safety standard. This final ruling will become active 120 days after being published in the Federal Register.
Anchor It: Secure Your Furniture at Home
Tip-overs can inflict major bodily injury (like broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, suffocation, and crushing injuries) on anyone, but young children are particularly at risk. While the CPSC’s new standard offers comprehensive protections for consumers, there are other steps you can take at home to safeguard your loved ones from preventable injuries. Here are some recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
- Secure all furniture and mirrors with anti-tip devices
- The heavier the piece of furniture, the more anchors you should use to stop it from tipping over
- Place heavier objects on the lowest shelves or drawers of dressers and other furniture storage units
- Avoid putting items like toys, electronics and remotes in high places. This can tempt children to climb
- Never place a television on top of a dresser, especially in a child’s room or playroom. If you have an older tube-style television, replace it with a flat-screen model
- Mount flat-screen televisions to a wall or to furniture. Use anti-tip devices for any TVs that are not wall mounted
- Consider using furniture and wall anchors made of metal, like “L” brackets. Plastic anchors can become brittle and break over time. Though metal anchors are slightly more expensive than their plastic counterparts, they are worth the price for safety
If you would like to learn more about how to safely secure your home, you can visit the CPSC’s Anchor It! campaign here: https://www.anchorit.gov/.
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