Blumenthal, Casey, Klobuchar Introduce Legislation Protecting Children From Tipping Furniture

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth (STURDY) Act.  The legislation comes as serious safety concerns have arisen from fatal tip-over incidents involving children in PA and across the nation. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), tip-overs of furniture, TVs, and appliances cause over 25,400 injuries per year as children are crushed, trapped or struck by falling objects, and the majority of these incidents involve furniture tip-overs.

“Among the hidden dangers in many homes are large furniture that is inadequately anchored or dangerously top-heavy. Such dressers and other items pose a special risk, injuring more than 25,000 Americans every year, many of them children. Current voluntary safety standards are plainly insufficient. American families need and deserve a strong furniture stability standard to prevent deadly tip-overs and protect our children,” said Blumenthal.

“Tipping furniture presents a serious danger to our nation’s children.  The STURDY Act requires the CPSC to adopt a stronger, mandatory stability standard that will help protect kids from being injured or killed by tip-overs of chests, dressers and bureaus,” Casey said.  “I hope that furniture manufacturers, safety advocates and government stakeholders can work together to stop hundreds of preventable deaths and help make American homes safer for our children.”

“No family should live in fear that their child could be severely injured or even killed by a preventable tip-over of household furniture,” said Klobuchar. “After a 22-month old from Apple Valley, Minnesota was killed by a falling Malm dresser, I called on the Consumer Product Safety Commission to take action to prevent further injuries and deaths and on IKEA to act to safeguard its customers. Our new bill expands this call to action by ensuring stronger standards across the board that will help protect more children from the risks of furniture tip-overs.”                                               

“I’ve introduced the STURDY Act to protect children from tip-over accidents and give parents peace of mind that their furniture is safe,” said Schakowsky. “The voluntary safety standards for furniture today are insufficient. Unstable dressers and wardrobes are still on the market, putting children at risk. We’ve heard the heartbreaking stories of three toddlers killed by a single model of dresser sold by IKEA. We need stronger rules to prevent tragic accidents from furniture tip-overs.”

The Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth (STURDY) Act directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to adopt a stronger, mandatory stability standard for clothing storage units, including chests, bureaus, and dressers, which are a major category of furniture at risk for tipping over. The bill gives the industry standards organization ASTM 180 days from the date of enactment to publish a stronger stability standard for clothing storage units, which the CPSC can adopt as mandatory if the Commission determines that it adequately protects children from tip-over related injury or death.  If ASTM does not publish an adequate voluntary standard within 180 days, the CPSC would be required to issue a final, mandatory safety standard for clothing storage units within 540 days of enactment.

Blumenthal has also filed amendments to the Fiscal Year 2017 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development appropriations bill and the National Defense Authorization Act – currently under consideration on the Senate Floor – which would allow individuals in low income and military housing units, respectively, to securely anchor furniture and large appliances to the wall without penalty.

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