By the time you’re done reading this post and listening to the audio, another child will sustain an injury from furniture, television, or appliance tip over. It happens every 17 minutes. This results in 25,500 injuries per year, with a death almost every two weeks.
This happens frequently because there are no mandatory furniture design standards manufacturers must meet. When a small child climbs a 30-inch-tall dresser with a drawer out, the center of gravity and stability can change. Some manufacturers do follow a voluntary standard that states dressers that are 30 inches or more must be able to maintain stability with 50 pounds hanging off an open drawer, but consumers have no easy way of knowing which furniture was held to this standard. This lack of standards isn’t for lack of trying. In 2016 The STURDY Act (The Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act) was introduce to Congress but was never passed.
As the work continues to mandate standards for designing safety into products like furniture, the onus of safety is put on the consumer. Parents are, unrealistically, expected to watch their children around furniture 100 percent of the time. Consumers are also expected to alter their furniture at home by anchoring it.
While it’s not acceptable to put the burden to reduce safety risks and hazards on consumers, anchoring furniture and buying furniture that could withstand the not yet passed STURDY standards are good steps to take while we wait for safety design standards to catch up. You can find great tips on furniture tip over prevention and proper anchoring techniques from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Consumer Reports has also released a report on which furniture already available meets the STURDY standards.
Review those resources while you listen to Kevin King expand on furniture tip over, the staggering injury statistics behind the hazard, and where safety standards need to go.
Want to hear more talks from Peter and Kevin King? Tune into WCIS 1010 AM Columbus, IN the first and third Friday of every month for People’s Law Talk.