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Home Meridian Recalls Dressers That Fail to Meet Voluntary Safety Standards

Federal Bill to Prevent Children’s Tip-Over Injuries Clears Legislative Hurdle

October 8, 2019

In another victory in the growing movement to keep children safe from unstable furniture, furniture design company Home Meridian has announced that it is recalling dressers that do not comply with the furniture industry’s already inadequate voluntary safety standard.

The September 24, 2019 recall, issued jointly with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, affects Mid-Century three-drawer chests, in brown or white finish. The recall notice states that the chests are unstable if they are not anchored to a wall, and that they pose serious tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in death or injuries to children.

The models were sold at Nebraska Furniture Mart stores in Nebraska, Kansas and Texas, and online at Wayfair.com, Amazon.com, BedBathandBeyond.com, and other online retailers from March 2017 through June 2019 for about $250. The recall notice instructs consumers to stop using the recalled chests and place them in an area which cannot be accessed by children. Consumers can contact Home Meridian to receive a free tip-over restraint kit mailed to their home, a one-time free in-home installation of the tip-over restraint kit, or a prepaid shipping label to mail in the drawer slides to receive a full refund.

The recall comes less than a month after furniture and home goods retailer Kirkland’s announced that it was recalling about 3,000 dressers that do not comply with the furniture industry’s voluntary safety standard.

Additionally, it comes one week after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the STURDY Act (Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act), which would impose a stronger, mandatory stability standard for dressers, which are referred to in the furniture industry as “clothing storage units.”

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., who sponsored the STURDY Act in April, said in a news release: “Every hour, of every day, approximately 3 children are getting injured – over 25,400 per year. Between 2000 and 2011, these tip-overs have resulted in at least 363 fatalities, with most of the innocent victims being less than 8 years old.”

The bill is presently before the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Ed Goldis, a product liability attorney at Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP, has represented the families of many children who have been injured or killed by furniture tip-overs. Mr. Goldis commented that “this is yet another example of a manufacturer failing to follow the industry’s own testing requirements, placing young children at risk.”

What Should I Do If My Child Has Been Injured by a Furniture Tip-Over?

If your child has been injured in a furniture tip-over accident, Mr. Goldis recommends contacting a product liability attorney as soon as possible, in order to ensure that the victim’s and family’s rights are protected. He said that parents, who are consumed by extreme grief and misplaced self-blame, often regard dresser tip-overs as “freak accidents” and don’t stop to consider that unsafe design is the reason why furniture tips over. Based on Mr. Goldis’ experience, “adherence to recognized principles of safe design can prevent the vast majority of tip-overs.”

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