Congress passes STURDY Act to prevent furniture tip-over deaths
January 14, 2023
Another issue that should have been adequately addressed decades ago was also included in the congressional end-of-year spending bill.
Starting in mid-2023, all new dressers and other clothing storage furniture in the United States will have to meet strong stability requirements before going to market. Tip-overs of unstable dressers have taken the lives of hundreds of children since 2000.
“This hard-fought victory would not have been possible without the courageous parent advocates who shared their stories, transformed their grief into action, and successfully urged Congress to ensure that no other family would have to suffer the preventable loss of a child,” said Gabe Knight, policy advocate for Consumer Reports.
Among the groups working on furniture tip-over issues include Parents Against Tip-Overs, Consumer Reports, the Consumer Federation of America, and Kids In Danger.
The STURDY Act – Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth – directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC to carry out a mandatory standard for dressers and other clothing storage furniture, or adopt an existing voluntary standard, if it meets requirements in the law.
Under STURDY, furniture is required to pass tests that are like real-world use, and account for stability problems like carpeted surfaces, drawers with items in them, and open drawers. The tests must also account for the weight of children in cases such as when they pull on drawers or climb on the dresser.
In October 2022, the CPSC approved a final rule that would also establish a mandatory safety standard for dressers and other clothing storage furniture. The STURDY Act builds on the CPSC’s work and provides a broad base of support for strong furniture stability rules, Knight said.
In addition to supporting safety requirements to address furniture tip-overs, Consumer Reports advises parents and caregivers to anchor their furniture. While it’s the responsibility of manufacturers to ensure that their furniture resists tipping over onto children, anti-tip restraints need to be installed to help keep children safe — especially for existing dressers that might not be as stable as those that are manufactured in the coming years.
Here’s a video from Consumer Reports on how anchor furniture:
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