After decades and countless injuries and fatalities due to tip-overs, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) finally approved safety standards for clothing storage units in the United States earlier this year. The ruling is intended to protect children up to six years old from unstable dressers, armoires, and wardrobes.
The STURDY ACT mandates that furniture companies create required safety standards. Certain requirements exist and include testing to simulate a child’s weight up to 60 pounds, accounting for carpeting and multiple open drawers.
Countless lawsuits, with a majority filed by grieving parents, were filed. A high-profile case involving Ikea ended with a $46 million dollar settlement over a toddler’s death.
Between January 2000 and April 2022, 234 people lost their lives, with children accounting for 199. According to the CPSC, around 5,300 of these types of accidents seriously resulted in hospitalization every year from 2006 to 2021.
While declining, injuries still occur every year. The new standard has the backing of both consumer organizations and furniture manufacturers. The vote was not unanimous, lacking the support of one commissioner out of the four who voted against the rule, claiming that the commission gave in to pressure. Purportedly, that led to weaker regulations that technical experts in the agency opposed.
Another detractor was the American Home Furnishings Alliance, which tried to vacate the rule with claims that it was far too broad.
The standards organization devised the new standard approved by the CPSC and will replace the previous requirement. It also has the backing of both consumer groups and furniture manufacturers.