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Consumer Reports: Dresser Recall Crucial but People Left at Risk, in the Dark Far Too Long

CR’s investigation previously found South Shore dresser, tied to death of child, was likelier to tip

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission today announced the recall of more than 300,000 dressers because they can too easily tip over onto children, potentially placing them at risk of injury or death.

The South Shore Libra 3-Drawer Chest of Drawers—sold online by retailers including Walmart and Amazon, and marketed as the Simply Basics 3 Drawer Dresser by Target—is linked to the death of a two-year-old child, and it failed Consumer Reports’ 2018 testing of the model.

“A child died when this dresser tipped over in August 2017. CR test results published seven months later found it couldn’t remain upright with a 50-pound load. And nearly 21 months after the fatal incident, the dresser is finally being recalled,” said William Wallace, Manager of Home and Products Policy for Consumer Reports.

CR conducted stability testing of this recalled South Shore model as a part of its ongoing investigation into the risks of dresser tip-over incidents to children. The dressers tested represented a cross-section of the market, and they were subjected to progressively more stringent stability tests, designed to simulate the weight of young children on them. The South Shore dresser model was not stable enough to stay upright with 50 pounds of weight hanging from an open drawer in CR’s tests.

“This recall is crucial but long overdue. Anybody who owns one should immediately get South Shore to pick up the dresser for free and provide a full refund. It’s also clear that companies and the CPSC need to alert consumers to hazards and get unsafe products off the market far faster than this,” Wallace added.

CR has called for strong action by furniture manufacturers and the federal government to carry out recalls to protect children from dresser tip-over incidents in the home, which can lead to serious injury or even death. CR has long advocated for a stronger, mandatory standard for furniture in order to help avoid tip-over injuries and deaths. CR, other safety advocates, and the parents of children killed by dressers that tipped over also have urged the furniture industry to substantially strengthen its voluntary standard in several key ways.

CR urges consumers to secure dressers to walls to help prevent tip-overs—including through our advice in an article and video that helps consumers know how to anchor furniture—but recognizes that it is not always an option for people who rent or those who are not handy with tools. CR says that the furniture industry has a responsibility to build safer, more stable dressers, and that safety should not rely on a person’s skill at anchoring a dresser to a wall.

Contact: Barrie Rosen, barrie.rosen@consumer.org, 914-378-2090

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