Is Your Children’s Bedroom a Danger Zone?

Given the spate of dresser recalls, your children’s bedroom could be like a ship’s cabin adrift on high seas pounded with gale force winds. If their room is furnished with Ikea, Home Depot or Safavieh dressers, anchoring furnishings to prevent tip-over incidents—which have been linked to many deaths and countless injuries—may not be enough.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says that one person is injured about every 20 minutes—and one child dies about every two weeks—when a piece of furniture, an appliance, or a television falls onto them. In a December 2018 report, the CPSC estimates that 14,000 children were injured from tipover accidents, including furniture, television, and appliance tipovers, between 2015 and 2017 alone.

If your child has been injured or killed in a furniture or TV tip-over accident, you may be entitled to recover damages from the party or parties responsible. Child-injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino is dedicated to helping children and families obtain the compensation they deserve.

In February 2020 two companies, Home Depot and Safavieh, recalled unstable dressers.  Less than a month later CPSC announced that Ikea is recalling nearly 1 million three-drawer Kullen dressers because of concerns of tipping and entrapping small children. (A California child died in 2017 after one of the company’s dressers tipped onto him.)  The CPSC said the dressers, sold between April 2005 and December 2019, should either be anchored or not used at all.  Consumer Reports, however, reports that safety experts do not recommend this solution because it does not ensure that the dresser will not be moved at a later date and used without a wall anchor.

Ikea has a history of unstable dressers. The first death reported from an Ikea dresser tipping over was in 1989, and the first report of a deadly Malm dresser was in 2011. The furniture retail giant recalled 29 million dressers in 2016 after six children died when the furniture tipped over. And after millions of dressers were sold that did not comply with the voluntary standard despite that they were linked to numerous tip-over incidents.  Only after Ikea dressers were linked to the deaths of at least nine children and countless injuries was a recall issued.

Is this recall enough?

Safavieh’s recall solution is to remove the drawer slides and send them back to the manufacturer. Kimberly Amato, with Parents Against Tip-Overs (a consumer advocacy group comprising parents whose children have died in a tip-over incident) is concerned that this recall will not remove unstable dressers from people’s homes and the marketplace – instead “another child could get injured or killed by a dresser tip-over,” Amato told Consumer Reports.

Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger, a consumer safety organization, says that even after consumers send in the drawer slides to receive the refund, “you still need to get rid of the chest so it doesn’t continue to pose a danger.” She suggests further taking the dresser apart and putting it in a dumpster so no one can use it or climb on it. She believes a better response from the company would have been to pick up the dressers free of charge

Furniture Test Failure and Future

Despite dressers modeled after industry standard that requires the dresser to stay upright after hanging a 50-pound weight on a single open drawer while the others are closed, several dresser models failed this basic stability test. CR’s testing has found it’s nearly impossible to tell which dressers are safe simply by looking at them or checking their cost. To address the problem, the House of Representatives recently passed the Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth (STURDY) Act, which would require the CPSC to create a mandatory federal rule for dressers that is tougher than the industry’s current voluntary standard. The bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate.

The STURDY Act is so important because we need a more robust mandatory standard for dressers,” Amato says. “It shouldn’t be on the consumer to find out they have an unsafe dresser after the fact through a recall announcement, or heaven forbid after it’s fallen and injured or killed somebody.”

Child injury attorney Jeff Killino is experienced with cases involving defective products as well as injuries to children. If your son or daughter has been injured in a tip-over accident or by a defective or faulty product, please do not hesitate to contact us.