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Joint Statement: Dresser Involved in Fatal Tip-Over Finally Recalled More than One Year Later

First CPSC recall for deadly unstable furniture since September 2017

* Kids In Danger * Parents Against Tip-Overs * Consumer Federation of America * Consumer Reports *

Today’s recall of the South Shore Libra Chest of Drawers is long overdue but important to highlight to consumers.  This is the first Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recall of a dresser or other clothing storage unit since September 2017, despite numerous dressers on the market that don’t stay upright when put through basic testing.

The CPSC and South Shore announced the recall involving one reported incident with injuries and one reported fatality.  The fatal incident involved the August 2017 death of a two-year-old child, although the CPSC did not investigate this incident until April 2018.  Another near miss involving the product is not included in the U.S. recall announcement.

Our organizations, Kids In Danger (KID), Consumer Federation of America (CFA), Consumer Reports (CR), and Parents Against Tip-Overs (PAT) are issuing this release to bring the recall to the attention of consumers who may have it in their homes as well as highlight the dangers of unstable furniture and urge industry and the CPSC to act to protect children from deadly furniture.

The recall and fatality highlight the danger of shorter dressers that are currently not included in the voluntary industry standard.  The standard only covers units more than 30 inches in height.  Consumer Reports tested this model in their 2018 testing program and found it did not remain upright with a fifty-pound test weight applied.  KID and Shane’s Foundation tested two taller models from the same manufacturer, and both also failed a fifty-pound test.

We urge consumers with the product to participate in the recall which allows for free pick-up of the unit or returning part of the hardware for a full refund.  The recall also allows for anchoring the dresser, which we do not recommend considering more safety-protective options.  We urge the CPSC to stop allowing companies to leave unstable and deadly dressers in people’s homes when they’ve issued a recall.

The ASTM International subcommittee on furniture safety meets tomorrow to review ballot results on making shorter dressers (27 inches and taller) subject to the standard. It will also review increasing the test weight from 50 pounds to 60 pounds to cover children up to 72 months of age.  Many in the furniture industry voted against these last two improvements with a handful voting against the change in height as well.

Consumer organizations and parents will be in attendance to continue to push for a stronger standard.  In addition, our groups support H.R. 2211, the Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth (STURDY) Act which would require a mandatory standard that would help protect children from tip-over-related death or injury by setting furniture stability requirements.

For the full statement, click here.