Over one million dressers are subject to a safety recall because of concerns about their stability and entrapment hazards. According to an ABC news report, Mainstays four-drawer chests from Ameriwood Home could be unstable if not anchored to the wall. This could pose serious tip-over and entrapment hazards, which could result in death or injuries to children. About 1.6 million units are being pulled from sale at Wal-Mart stores, online and other retailers around the country.
According to a statement by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the chests do not comply with the performance requirements of the U.S. voluntary industry standard. CPSC is advising anyone who has these chests at home to stop using them if they are not properly anchored to the wall. It is also best to remove it from an area where a child might have access to it. The agency says it has received one report of an injury after a chest of drawers tipped over onto a 4-year-old. CPSC is also suggesting that consumers contact Ameriwood for a free repair kit that includes a wall-anchoring device and feet for the chest.
Prior Dresser Recalls
Recently, Swedish furniture retailer Ikea was in the news as it recalled millions of its Malm dressers after they tipped over and killed young children. Ikea agreed to pay $50 million to the families of three toddlers who all died when the dressers toppled over with crushing force. The dressers were part of a line of assemble-it-yourself chests made of particleboard and fiberboard.
In each of the cases, parents recounted the unspeakable horror of seeing their young children trapped and lifeless under the collapsed furniture. Ikea recalled 29 million dressers. Of those, the Malm dressers represented more than one-fourth of the recalled products.
Preventing Tip-over Accidents
There are a number of pieces of furniture such as televisions and bookcases that could pose similar entrapment hazards. There are several things parents can do to prevent these types of tragedies. Assess the stability of the furniture. Secure furniture by using brackets, braces or wall straps. Install stops on dresser drawers to prevent them from being pulled all the way out.
Put heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers. Do not place remote controls, food, toys or other items in places where children might be tempted to climb up or reach for them. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, contact an experienced product defect lawyer to better understand your legal rights and options.