Consumer Reports call for mandatory standards on dressers as furniture tipping accidents rise
A report out Thursday morning shows thousands of children are injured or killed by furniture that tips over — and the numbers are growing. After testing 24 different dresser models, Consumer Reports is calling for the furniture industry to adopt a mandatory safety standard.
There are voluntary standards for dressers but advocates wanted to know why were so many kids still being injured or killed? The Consumer Product Safety Commission says tip-over injuries for children under six rose by 33 percent from 2015 to 2016. Consumer Reports and parents who have lost children believe the voluntary standards that currently exist aren’t enough.
“Just in this, like, little sliver of time, our lives had changed forever,” Janet McGee told CBS News’ Anna Werner.
For McGee, that change came on a Sunday afternoon in 2016 as she checked to see if her 22-month-old son Ted had woken up from his afternoon nap.
“I opened the door and right in front of me, his dresser I saw on the floor. It had fallen forward… In that split second I knew that he was under there,” McGee said.
The toddler was buried under the dresser drawers. He had suffocated.
“His face was purple. His eyes were half opened. It was a horrible vision that unfortunately I’m still haunted by every single day,” she said.
Government data shows from 2014 to 2016, more than 15,000 children under 18 were injured in tip-overs. From 2000-2016 more than 150 children died from tip-overs of dressers, bureaus or with a TV on top.
Consumer Reports conducted tip-over testing on 24 different dressers, subjecting each to progressively tougher tests, some more stringent than the current voluntary standard. The result: the group says the industry standard is “inadequate” because it still leaves too many children at risk.
James Dickerson, Consumer Reports’ chief scientific officer, said it’s “extremely difficult” for parents to figure out which dressers are safer than others.
“You cannot judge a dresser – whether it’s going to be tippy or not – just by looking at it,” Dickerson said.
Consumer Reports is now calling for a mandatory standard to protect children. In a statement, the American Home Furnishings Alliance told “CBS This Morning” it is “not opposed to mandatory product safety standards” but said they “cannot be easily revised or updated once passed.” Consumer Reports says by the numbers, however, most dressers actually passed their toughest test.
“Some of them are doing a fantastic job…. it is possible, it is achievable, and it doesn’t require extra cost,” Dickerson said. “You can make dressers that are very stable at all price points, at all shapes, all sizes, all heights, all weights.”
If you want to see the results for specific manufacturers and see how they responded, you can check the entire report here. In the meantime, if you are a parent of young children, you can buy anchor kits for any furniture that could fall on a child. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the kits cost as little as $5.