Lawmakers Sign STURDY Act to Prevent Furniture Tip-Over Accidents

Photo: (Photo : Constance Bannister Corp/Getty Images)

New legislation directing the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to craft new guidelines mandating furniture makers to design sturdy dressers and cabinets to prevent furniture tip-over accidents has been approved by the House of Representatives.

The Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth (STURDY) Act has received bipartisan support from lawmakers since the deliberations for the legislation started in 2019. 

The majority agreed that the safety standards for furniture must be in place following the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths involving children who had furniture falling on them. The bill is now moving to the Senate, which shall begin its deliberation.

A Tragic Data

Data from the CPSC revealed that 451 children in the United States died due to furniture tip-over accidents between 2000 to 2019. Since 2017, an average of 11,300 children received treatments and emergency hospital care for tip-over-related injuries.

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The data also showed that many parents are not aware of the dangers of furniture tip-over accidents and that 96 percent of consumers believe that dressers and cabinets selling for more than $75 are of high-quality safety standard, which has not been the case.

Mom Kimberly Amato, who is part of the advocacy group Parents Against Tip-Overs, said that she wants parents to be aware of the furniture they buy, regardless of the price or brand name. In 2004, Amato lost her 3-year-old daughter, Meghan, after a dresser fell over her while the rest of the family was still sound asleep.

After Meghan's death, Amato has been staunchly advocating for the protection of consumers and has been active with the CPSC's campaigns. Before the passing of this new legislation, there were never any mandatory standards for manufacturers to comply with to prevent tip-over accidents.

A Lifesaving Bill

"This lifesaving bill has the support of parents, pediatricians, safety advocates, and even major companies in the furniture industry," Consumer Report analyst Gabe night said in an article on Motherly. Knight added that a vote to pass this bill into law signals the intent of lawmakers to keep American homes safer and protected from tragedy.

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Apart from the mandatory safety guidelines, the STURDY Act will also direct furniture makers to prominently indicate the risks of tip-overs in their products. They will also have to include anchors for their dressers and cabinets to keep the furniture in place. According to the CPSC, only 27 percent of furniture makers currently provide anchors.

In response to the tip-over cases, Ikea, the Swedish furniture maker, announced in January 2021 that it would require shoppers buying their dressers and cabinets in the U.S. to mount the furniture on the wall. Ikea will also ask for the names and email addresses of the customers to verify if they need further guidance on mounting. 

It comes as most tip-over cases involved Ikea furniture, according to USA Today. In 2016, the furniture company had to pull out over 17 million units of its popular Malm cabinets for its safety hazards. 

Meanwhile, Ikea is a respondent in an ongoing class-action lawsuit in the U.S. for its "deadly dressers." 

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