Consumer safety groups are calling for stricter and enforceable standards for furniture after a report has shown that current criteria do not protect children from dresser tip-overs. According to a news report in the Chicago Tribune, the 21-page report was released by nonprofit safety group Kids in Danger and Shane’s Foundation, named after a boy who died in 2011 in a dresser tipping accident. The report’s findings come after tests on 19 different dressers.
Standards Too Lax
Nine out of the 19 passed performance tests based on safety standards currently in place, which have been developed by ASTM International. But just two more passed more rigorous tests developed by Kids in Danger, which are more representative of situations that happen in real life. ASTM has developed voluntary standards for dressers and chests marketed for children. But the standards themselves are too lax and there is widespread non-compliance in the industry, advocates say. Children continue to be injured and killed in dresser tip-overs. But the standards and testing for these products remain unchanged and voluntary.
In June, Ikea recalled 29 million dressers and chests after at least six toddlers were crushed to death in the U.S. It took those fatalities and dozens of injuries and near-misses for Ikea to finally issue the recall. In many cases, the children slide drawers out from a dresser and then try to climb them like stairs. In a moment, an everyday item could become lethal. According the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, all six of the children crushed to death by Ikea furniture were children 3 years or younger.
Dangerous and Defective Products
The safety standards for furniture are long overdue. The problem is not just with Ikea’s products. There are millions of dressers and chests made by other manufacturers, which likely have the same problem. If you have such furniture in your home, it is important to take safety measures. All dressers, bookcases, entertainment units, TV stands and TVs must be securely anchored. Remove items such as toys and remote controls from the top of televisions and furniture. These items may tempt children to climb the furniture, which may cause a tip-over.
If your child has been injured by these or other dangerous and defective products, contact an experienced product liability attorney who can help you protect your legal rights and options.