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Schakowsky Introduces Legislation to Protect Children From Furniture Tip-Overs

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, today introduced the Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act of 2019, H.R. 2211. Tipping furniture presents a serious risk of injury and death to children. Furniture or items on top of furniture such as TVs can fall onto a child, causing the child to be crushed, trapped, or struck by falling objects.

“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,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. “I’m introducing the STURDY Act to help protect children from these preventable accidents and spare their families these painful situations, resulting simply from a piece of furniture.”

Clothing storage units, including chests, bureaus, and dressers, are a major category of furniture at risk for tipping over. Opening drawers or doors can cause top-heavy units to tip. In addition, young children frequently climb on these furniture units unsupervised, increasing the risk of an accident. There have been several toddler deaths linked to falling dressers, as recent as an incident in February 2016 and another in May 2017.

This legislation is supported by several consumer groups, including Kids In Danger, Parents Against Tip-overs, the Consumer Federation of America, and Consumer Reports.

“It is tricky to say whether low recall numbers are a good thing – pointing to safer products – or a sign of lax enforcement, leaving dangerous products on store shelves and in our homes,” stated Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of Kids In Danger.  “Indicators this year, such as less effective actions in lieu of recalls and fewer findings of design defects in the recalls that were announced, make us worry it is the latter.”

“There’s no easy way for a consumer to simply look at a dresser and tell whether it is likely to tip over. A more effective, mandatory standard would help consumers trust that dressers on the market resist tipping over onto young children. Consumer Reports strongly supports the STURDY Act and urges its swift passage to help prevent these avoidable tragedies,” said Meg Bohne, organizing manager for Consumer Reports.

The STURDY Act directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission to adopt a stronger, mandatory stability standard for clothing storage units within one year of enactment, following the streamlined rulemaking process that it has used for numerous children’s products. This standard may be based on a voluntary standard such as ASTM’s but must include specific additional criteria to ensure children’s safety, including; an increased weight limit to simulate children up to six years old, testing under real world conditions such as climbing, carpeted floors, and open drawers, inclusion of smaller clothing storage units; and strengthened warning requirements.

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    repName Jan Schakowsky  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress Chicago Office
    5533 N. Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60640
     
    district 9th District of Illinois  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2017  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2017  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2017  
    repStateABBR IL  
    repDistrict 9  
    repState Illinois  
    repDistrictText 9th  
    repPhoto    
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