Child safety groups call for legislation on tipping furniture

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Every year as many as 25,000 children are injured — and some even killed — by tipping furniture.

Child safety advocates say the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) isn’t doing enough to hold furniture manufacturers to higher safety standards.

“I strongly feel the manufacturers are not afraid of repercussions from the CPSC,” said Crystal Ellis from Parents Against Tip-Overs.

“Between their small budget and their hands being tied by the limitations from Section 6-B from the Consumer Product Safety Act, the manufacturers know they have time to stall, time that will result in more deaths of children,” said Ellis, who recently testified before lawmakers.

Her young child died in an incident with tipping furniture.  

“Every dresser that falls at the rate of one E.R. visit every 17 minutes has the potential to be a death or a life-altering injury,” Ellis said.

Lawmakers are being asked to pass the Sturdy Act, which would require more stringent safety testing before any furniture is sold and would also call for more effective warnings if a piece of furniture may be defective.

“The unwillingness of the industry to engineer furniture that is safe for kids necessities something like the Sturdy Act,” says Dr. Ben Hoffman who is the chair of the American Academy Committee of Pediatrics on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention.

“There are a number of kids every year who are injured or killed by furniture tip-overs, you know, everything from televisions to bookcases to dressers,” said Dr. Hoffman.

 Dr. Hoffman pointed out that nine children have died after being trapped under a dresser sold by Ikea. While there was a recall and publicity about the recall, he says doesn’t solve the overall problem of safety testing standards that he believes are stringent enough. 

He says the legislation would require better testing and allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission to set standards on safety once and for all.

“Legislation would basically force the manufacturers to test to a different standard that would represent real-world situations much more reasonably,’ he told us. “I  would hope that legislators would take this opportunity to think about the well-being of kids and put people in front of you know, corporate interests and profits.”

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