Safety advocates are raising serious concerns about yet another piece of furniture sold by major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Sears, Amazon and Home Depot. According to a Fox13 news report, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says the dresser made by Hodedah is not stable and is at risk of tipping over and seriously injuring a child.
However, the warning issued by the federal safety agency is just an alert. It is not an official recall. Consumer advocates are asking why CPSC is not forcing a recall when they have enough information to warn the public that the dressers are dangerous. CPSC has the power to issue a mandatory recall even if the company does not agree to issue a recall.
A warning does not require stores and online outlets to stop selling the dressers. Also, people are not likely to hear about the dangers posed by these products. Only an official safety recall can force retailers to stop selling dangerous and defective products. The Consumer Federation of America rightly points out that such a warning shifts the safety responsibility on to families by telling them to anchor a dresser to a wall. However, research consistently shows that not a lot of people do that, for a variety of reasons. Maybe because it is difficult to do or maybe because the housing in which they live in prohibits them from doing so.
According to the CPSC, one child dies every two weeks and one person is injured every 15 minutes when a piece of furniture or a television falls on them. Last week, Ikea settled with an Orange County couple for $46 million in a heartbreaking incident involving the couple’s 2-year-old son who was crushed to death after a Malm dresser tipped over and fell on him.
Need for Mandatory Safety Rules
The problem with these types of unsafe furniture is that the safety standards and most recalls are voluntary. Many consumer safety groups have pushed Congress to pass the Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act or STURDY Act, which would essentially require the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to develop mandatory safety rules for free-standing clothing storage units to protect children from death or injury as a result of tip-overs.
The bill is currently making its way through Congress right now. Another new bill proposed just last week would get rid of roadblocks the CPSC faces when trying to put out life-saving alerts. As product defect lawyers, we hope this defective dresser is recalled as soon as possible so more lives are not at risk. If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a dangerous or defective product, please contact an experienced product defect attorney to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.