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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