Many parents assume that they don’t need to pay extra attention to furniture they buy unless it has a safety warning. This is not always the case, as a new Consumer Reports study finds that certain furniture, unregulated by consumer safety standards, is linked with child injury and death. Some parents are urging Congress to broaden regulation on furniture to include higher standards on anti-tipping rules.
Consumer Reports Says Current System Insufficient
Between 2000 and 2017, over 500 people died from furniture tip-over incidents; 84% of the victims were under 10 years of age. There is currently an industry standard on tip-over safety which companies voluntarily follow, but in the United States, there are no mandatory regulations for furniture on this issue. Consumer Reports believes that current industry standards are not sufficient to prevent injury and death. For example, furniture under 30 inches is considered not at risk of tip-over by the industry standard, but Consumer Reports found at least 5 child deaths which resulted from furniture tip-overs that were under 30 inches.
Unsafe furniture is a problem not many consumers are aware of. Rarely do consumers know about the tip-over risk of furniture–and if they do it can be a hassle to deal with. People who buy unregulated and potentially dangerous furniture first must know that what they are buying isn’t safe. Then, they must figure out how to secure the furniture on their own. Consumer Reports found that these extra steps put an undue burden on consumers when the default expectation is one of safety.
The STURDY Act
A Congressional Committee met Thursday to hear testimony from Consumer Reports, advocacy groups, and parents who lost children in tip-over accidents. This is related to a proposed new law, the STURDY Act, which would increase the CPSC’s safety standards on furniture. These standards would include more rigorous, mandatory testing for furniture liable to tip-over. Consumer reports is also advocating for companies to provide more information and access on securing potentially unstable furniture.
Furniture Safety Tips from the CPSC:
- Check whether the furniture has any potential hazards with the store and online;
- Always make sure furniture around children is secured, either at the base or secured against the wall;
- Don’t put items that children will reach for on top of furniture, like toys or a TV remote;
- Pay attention to appliances like TV’s that might not seem like dangers but can tip-over unexpectedly.
If a defective product has caused you or a loved one to suffer, you owe it to yourself to get help. Contact the legal team at Regan Zambri and Long PLLC for a free consultation on your product liability case.