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Consumer and Medical Groups Applaud New Legislation to Help Prevent Furniture Tip-Overs

STURDY Act will help save children’s lives by strengthening furniture safety standards

*American Academy of Pediatrics * Consumer Federation of America * Consumer Reports * Kids In Danger * Parents Against Tip-Overs * Public Citizen *

Washington, D.C. – Leading consumer and medical groups support the Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth (STURDY) Act of 2019 (H.R. 2211), recently introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), as a needed step to help prevent more children from being injured and killed by furniture tip-overs. The bill is currently co-sponsored by Reps. Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Bobby Rush (D-IL), and Darren Soto (D-FL).

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), one child dies every 10 days from a furniture or TV tip-over.

The STURDY Act would require the CPSC to create a mandatory rule for free-standing clothing storage units to protect children from tip-over incidents. The rule would:

  • Cover all clothing units, even those under 30 inches
  • Require testing to simulate the weights of children up to 72 months of age
  • Require testing measures to account for scenarios involving carpeting, loaded drawers, and the dynamic force of a climbing child
  • Mandate strong warning requirements
  • Require the CPSC to issue the mandatory standard within one year of enactment

“Too many families have experienced the ultimate loss, the death of a child, because the Consumer Product Safety Commission has deferred to inadequate voluntary standards for too long and failed to effectively execute recalls,” said Rep. Schakowsky.

American Academy of Pediatrics, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, Kids In Danger (KID), Parents Against Tip-Overs (PAT), and Public Citizen applaud the legislation and reflect on its importance to children’s safety:

“March 2019 was 8 years since my son Shane died,” said Lisa Siefert of Shane’s Foundation and a founding member of Parents Against Tip-Overs. “CPSC and manufacturers have delayed too long in making effective change to the standard. We can’t wait any longer.”  

“I believe making a mandatory standard that takes into account real world use by a child with dynamic testing would have saved my son,” added Crystal Ellis of PAT, whose son Camden died when a 30” dresser tipped on him.

“My son was the eighth child that we know of to be killed by an IKEA dresser in a 27-year-period of time before the company finally recalled their unstable dressers that did not meet the current safety standard,” stated Janet McGee of PAT, whose son Ted’s death led to the IKEA recall of 27 million dressers – most of which remain in use. “Unfortunately, he was not the last child to die from their deadly dressers. The STURDY Act would make it mandatory for manufacturers to adhere to a stronger safety standard, and it would empower the CPSC to hold companies accountable for failing to meet the safety standard.”

Meghan Delong, also a member of PAT, whose son Conner was killed by a dresser that met the weak voluntary standard and is still for sale today. “Had there been a stronger mandatory standard in place when this dresser was purchased maybe Conner would still be here today,” said Delong.

“The current voluntary standard has not done enough to reduce tip-overs,” said Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of Kids In Danger. “Congress must pass the STURDY Act now to mandate stringent testing on dressers before they hit the market and end up in children’s bedrooms.”

“The STURDY Act is necessary to protect children from the tip-over hazard posed by furniture,” stated Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and General Counsel with Consumer Federation of America. “This bill will require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue a strong mandatory standard that will save children’s lives.”

“When purchasing furniture or other household products, many parents assume that if it’s being sold in a store, then it must be safe for their family – tragically, that is not always the case. The American Academy of Pediatrics is proud to support the STURDY Act as a needed step forward to prevent more children from being injured and killed by furniture tip-overs,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Kyle Yasuda, MD, FAAP.

“Rep. Jan Schakowsky understands the importance of robust product safety rules that protect our families from potential injury and death. We hope that Congress will quickly pass the STURDY Act” said Remington A. Gregg, counsel for civil justice and consumer rights with Public Citizen.

“Stronger standards must be quickly implemented to protect children. Consumer Reports’ testing has demonstrated that it is feasible for dressers at all price points to pass a more rigorous test, and our analysis of the injury and fatality data shows why it is necessary for furniture manufacturers to meet a stronger standard,” said William Wallace, Manager, Home and Products Policy for Consumer Reports.

The coalition of consumer and medical groups sent a fact sheet and letter to all members of Congress today asking them to co-sponsor the STURDY Act.