The dresser and wardrobe you use in your home can be a deadly threat to your child.
Recent federal figures show 472 children have died from furniture tipping over the past 20 years. These incidents also resulted in more than 22,000 hospital emergency room visits from 2018-2020.
“I held her in the emergency room, shook her one last time, and assured her that she would be the last child to die in this way,” Kimberly Amato said.
In 2004, Amato’s four-year-old daughter, Meghan, had a dresser that fell on top of her overnight. Since then, Amato and other Parents Against Tipping (PAT) have been pushing for changes in safety.
With the passage of the new STURDY Act, the fight has had mixed victories.
The new law will strengthen furniture testing for real-world situations, such as when furniture is placed on carpet or when children climb on or pull drawers.
“Furniture shouldn’t tip over under the weight of such a small child. It could have been designed differently,” says Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger.
This year, the CPSC will set minimum stability standards for new furniture that holds clothes. The new law also requires new warnings for these products.
“The real goal is not so much that parents have to do the work of making the product safe, but getting the product from the store safely,” Cowles said.
These federal changes only apply to new dressers and wardrobes. Advocates still encourage parents to buy anchors and secure their old furniture to the wall to help prevent these accidents.
While the work isn’t over, Amato says it fulfills a promise she made to her daughter.
“We like to imagine all our kids in the next place, watching us go, that’s my mum, that’s my dad. We’re so proud of them. Look at what they’ve done, I hope she’ll be proud, said Amato.
Parent groups say they are also pushing for more regulations on other items that could be recalled for safety concerns. They want the CPSC to take extra steps to get those recalled products out of homes.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates when more information becomes available.
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