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CPSC considering more stringent standards for dressers

When it comes to safeguarding their home from dangerous products, the vast majority of parents are extremely conscientious, filling out product registration forms, monitoring the news and getting rid of those items that raise safety concerns.

While this is laudable, the unfortunate reality is that sometimes even the most diligent parents can overlook the dangers posed by more mundane items. By way of example, consider the danger posed by unstable furniture.

Indeed, statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission reveal the following:

  • Roughly 10,000 times per year -- an average of once a hour -- a child is taken to an emergency room for injuries caused by toppling furniture.
  • Since 2000, over 411 children have lost their lives because of toppling furniture.

Interestingly enough, parents should take note of one piece of furniture that is especially prone to tipping over that is now directly in the crosshairs of the CPSC: dressers.

That's largely because recent research by CPSC researchers made some rather alarming findings concerning the degree to which U.S. furniture manufacturers were abiding by a voluntary industry stability standard. This standard requires a dresser to remain standing when a 50-pound weight is hung from a fully extended drawer and for tip restraints to be included with all models.

After testing 61 dressers readily available for purchase, the CPSC researchers discovered the following:

  • 50 percent of dressers failed the voluntary stability test
  • 90 percent were lacking adequate warning labels relating to tip-overs
  • 30 percent failed to include tip restraints
  • 13 percent had insufficient tip restraints

The results of this report coupled with the above-referenced fatality figures has resulted in the CPSC labeling the furniture industry's voluntary stability standard as "severely deficient" and threatening to introduce its own mandatory standard, an uncommon occurrence that would prove costly to furniture makers.

"It's time to move forward if industry does not step up now," said the CPSC chair. "We're serious about this because we're serious about child safety."

It remains to be seen whether the CPSC is prepared to follow through on its threat. However, it's worth noting that its operating budget for 2017, which will soon come up for a vote by the commission's five members, contains a provision calling for the initiation of the rule-making process for a tipping-dresser standard.

Stay tuned for updates …

If you or your child have suffered serious injuries because of what you believe to be a defective or dangerous product, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can examine your situation, explain the law and help you pursue justice.  

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