As child safety advocates, parents and lawmakers turn up the
heat in their fight to keep children safe from dresser tip-overs, two more furniture
makers have succumbed to the pressure to get their unsafe furniture out of their
Ridgewood Industries (also known as Ameriwood Home) and
E&E, on Oct. 3, 2019, became the fourth and fifth furniture makers in the
past five months to recall dressers which are unstable by design unless
attached to a wall. The recall notices, issued jointly with the Consumer
Product Safety Commission, state that the affected dressers pose serious
tip-over and entrapment hazards for children.
The recalls came after the dressers failed safety tests conducted by the CPSC and as the agency prepared to present the results of its safety testing of more than 150 dressers and clothing storage units at a Nov. 7 meeting convened by ASTM International, which publishes voluntary safety standards for the furniture industry.
What Should I Do If I
Have a Recalled Ridgewood Dresser?
Ridgewood Industries recalled about one million units of its
Belmont four-drawer dressers sold in Kmart and Sears stores nationwide and
online from April 2013 to September 2019 for about $40. According to Consumer
Reports, the dressers were sold as the Essential Home Belmont, the Ridgewood
Belmont, and the Ameriwood Belmont. They were manufactured in four colors and
two sizes, ranging in height from 29¾ inches to 32¼ inches.
Ridgewood’s recall notice instructs consumers to stop using
any recalled dresser that is not properly anchored to a wall and to place it in
an area that children cannot access. Consumers can contact Ridgewood to receive
a free anchoring kit, including a wall anchor strap. They can request a
one-time, free in-home installation of the wall anchor strap.
What Should I Do If I
Have a Recalled E&E Dresser?
E&E recalled about 1,800 units of its INK+IVY Renu
dressers made from multi-colored pine wood. The dressers sold online on
bedbathandbeyond.com, jcpenney.com, kohls.com, macys.com, olliix.com,
overstock.com and wayfair.com from January 2017 through September 2019 for
E&E’s recall notice instructs consumers to stop using
the recalled dressers unless properly anchored to the wall and to place them in
an area that children cannot access. Consumers can contact E&E for a full
refund with free dresser pick-up or a free tip-over restraint kit and a
one-time free in-home installation of the kit. They can also choose to receive
a pre-paid packaging label to ship their recalled dresser back to E&E for a
full refund check or a $400 Designerliving.com store credit.
What Other Dressers Have
Been Recalled for Tip-Overs?
The Ridgewood and E&E recalls come less than two weeks
after Home Meridian recalled about 640 units of its Mid-Century three-drawer
chests. In September, Kirkland’s recalled about 3,000 units of two dresser
models: the Black Wash Mirrored Chest and the Six-Drawer Camille Chest. In May,
South Shore Furniture recalled 310,000 units of its Libra-style three-drawer
Will Other Furniture
Makers Recall Their Dressers in the Future?
As the publicity created about unsafe dressers continues, more
dresser recalls will likely follow, said Daniel J. Mann, a product liability
attorney at Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP. While
the CPSC’s testing has not been released to the public, Mann attended the
recent ASTM meeting where the testing was discussed. There are additional
dressers which failed the testing which have yet to be recalled. Mann, who has represented
the families of many children who have been injured or killed in tip-over
accidents, said that it would be especially tragic if more children were injured
by these dressers that both manufacturers and the government know are defective.
“It’s expensive and time-consuming to recall an entire line
of furniture. The way to avoid recalls is to build a dresser that is stable and
safe when sold. No manufacturer should sell dressers that are not tested for
tip-resistance,” said Mann.
Mann noted that public outcry has already prompted elected
officials to act. In September, the U.S. House of Representative unanimously passed
the STURDY Act (Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act), which
would impose a stronger, mandatory stability standard for dressers. The bill is
presently before the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and
What Should I Do If
My Child Is Injured by a Dresser Tip-Over?
Mann recommends contacting a product liability attorney immediately
following a furniture tip-over accident, in order to ensure that evidence is
preserved, and that the victim’s and family’s legal rights are protected. He
said that parents often do not recognize that dresser tip-overs occur because
of an unsafe design, which is fully preventable.
“There is no such thing as a ‘freak accident’ when it comes
to dresser tip-overs,” Mann said. “It is completely foreseeable to furniture
makers that young children will climb their dressers. Safe design accounts for
that known behavior.”
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Feldman Shepherd product liability attorneys Alan M. Feldman, Daniel J. Mann and Edward S. Goldis discuss why dresser tip-overs occur, how tip-overs can be prevented and the legal remedies available. They are joined by former Feldman Shepherd clients Crystal Ellis and Janet McGee who each lost a child to an IKEA dresser tip-over accident. Crystal…
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