Did you know that three children are injured every hour by a TV, an appliance, or furniture falling on them according to estimates from the Consumer Product Safety Commission? In fact, two-thirds of all TV and furniture tip-over fatalities involve toddlers and 91% of these fatalities occur in the home. Almost half occur in the bedroom. The impact force of a piece of furniture can be thousands of pounds. For example, a TV can fall with the force equivalent of being hit by 10 NFL lineman. Some of these accidents occur as result of young children attempting to reach remote controls or other tempting items in high places normally out of their reach. A separate report by by the commission's staff in August of 2016 found that at least 489 people, mainly young children, lost their lives from 2000 to 2015 when furniture, televisions or appliances tipped over and crushed them. That report also estimates that 33,100 people went to the emergency room annually for injuries related to tip-overs from 2013 to 2015. The report calls tip-overs “one of the top hidden hazards in the home.”Further, the commission's staff report issued by Adam Suchy, Directorate of Epidemiology Division of Hazard Analysis found that the furniture industry's current standards are insufficient and, at the same time, widely ignored. In response to questioning by reporters on a conference call addressing the reports findings, CPSC chairman Elliott Kaye stated that "The current standard just does not get the job done and it needs to be revised now. It is a deeply troubling report". He threatened to require mandatory federal rules if the industry doesn't strengthen its voluntary standards to prevent its products from tipping over and killing children.
In June of 2016, CPSC and IKEA jointly announced the recall of several chest and dresser models that involved 29 million units. The recall included the popular MALM-style dresser, which has killed at least four children by tipping over and crushing them resulting in lawsuits for wrongful death brought by the parents and subsequently settled by the manufacturer.
Consumer Reports had reported previously on the dangers of unanchored furniture by encouraging consumers to check for tip-over hazards in their home and to install anchor devices on heavy items like bookcases and dressers and not to leave tempting items high up in plain view of children. CR and others have been pressing for stronger industry safety standards for chests of drawers, dressers, combination chests and other items calling upon manufacturers now to take more meaningful actions to improve the stability of their products. Thus far it is CR's belief they have not seen "the kind of urgency and industry-wide accountability that consumers need."
Most recently on April 10, 2017 Vanguard Furniture voluntarily recalled approximately 170 sets of their Bow Front chests of drawers. The recalled chests are unstable if not anchored to a wall, posing a serious threat of tip-over and entrapment. The chests specifically do not comply with the performance requirements of the U.S. voluntary standard, (AST f2057-14). i.e. 50lb test requirement.** To date, no incidents/injuries have been reported on these items sold between August 2015 and February 2017 for between $4.200 and $4,400.00.
If you have have a tip-over accident in your home involving an injury contact this office for further information. It is important you talk to an attorney so you can be advised of your legal rights. Contact us online or call 1-888-435-7946 (888-HELPWIN) for a free consultation. We serve all of the state of Pennsylvania from our offices in Philadelphia, Reading and Bala Cynwyd. There is never a charge to speak with us about your legal rights.
**analysis compiled by CPSC in its September 2016 Staff Briefing Package On Furniture Tipover recommends design improvements that result in even greater force test weight requirement increase from 50 lb to 60 lbs to represent 95 percentile of children up to age 6.