Falling furniture kills one child every two weeks, federal agency says

Diane Wilson Image
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Furniture tipping can be deadly to children.
EMBED <>More Videos

Furniture tipping can be deadly to children.

Every 20 minutes, tipped or falling furniture sends a child to the emergency room.

Furniture companies and the government have issued warnings for years. But despite those warnings, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says tip-over incidents result in one fatality every two weeks.

Now both parents and lawmakers are calling for faster action to make furniture safer.

Lisa Siefert's 2-year-old son died in 2011 when his dresser fell on him.

"I went to wake him from his nap and found him under his dresser," Siefert said. She's now joining advocacy groups and lawmakers in asking the CPSC to implement tougher standards for furniture makers.

One of the lawmakers leading the push for action is U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky. She says one of the things she wants to change is the way companies test products.

"They put a 50-pound weight on it and if it tips then it's bad--but that's not what kids do. They open the drawer, they get on it, they jump up and down," said Schakowsky.

Schakowsky introduced the Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth, or STURDY Act.

If it becomes law, companies would be required to increase the amount of weight used during testing and test products under different real-world conditions and on different surfaces before furniture could be sold.

"There are ways that you can build dressers that don't tip over," Schakowsky said.

Siefert says she believes the STURDY Act could have saved her son, now she is hoping it will keep other kids safe.

"This is important that people take notice. This can happen at any moment," Siefert said.

The STURDY Act is under review in committee. The CPSC says it's ready to take action if the legislation becomes law.