On September 6, 2017, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a recall of about 1.6 million chests of drawers because of tip-over and entrapment hazards. The dressers were sold primarily at Walmart and can create a risk of injury to small children.
According to a study published in Pediatrics in 2013, an estimated 380,885 children under the age of 18 were treated in emergency departments because of falling televisions between 1990 and 2011. An earlier study also revealed a 40 percent increase in injuries involving falling furniture over an 18-year period.
One Child Already Injured by Unstable Dressers
The CPSC states that the recalled chests of drawers are “unstable if they are not anchored to the wall, posing serious tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in death or injuries to children.” The furniture does not comply with standard safety requirements, which is why the recall was implemented.
The dressers were sold at Walmart between 2009 and 2016, for about $60 retail price. They came in a number of colors, including white, alder, walnut, ruby red, black forest, and weathered oak. The dressers were made of composite wood with plastic drawer glides and a single decorative pull on each drawer, and measured 40-5/16 inches high by 27-11/16 inches wide by 14-11/16 inches deep.
The products were manufactured in the U.S. and China, and imported by Ameriwood Home of Tiffin, Ohio. The CPSC has received only one report of an injury after a chest of drawers tipped over onto a four-year-old. They have instructed consumers to check for the model number on the instruction manual, and see if their dresser is affected. (Consumers can check the numbers against those listed on the CPSC site.)
Affected products should be placed into an area where children cannot go until parents can contact Ameriwood for a free repair kit that includes a wall anchoring device and stabilizing feet for the dresser.
IKEA Tip-Over Dressers Result in at Least 4 Deaths
This isn’t the first recall involving potentially dangerous home furniture. In 2016, IKEA recalled 29 million MALM and other models of chests and dressers because of serious tip-over hazards. At that time, one child had been killed, and the CPSC noted later that they had received four reports of child fatalities associated with the dressers.
Again, the units were unstable if not properly anchored to the wall. In February 2014, a 2-year-old boy from Pennsylvania died after a 6-drawer dresser tipped over and fatally pinned him against his bed. In June 2014, a 23-month-old boy from Washington died after he was trapped under a 3-door chest that tipped over.
Authorities later learned of another incident in February 2016 in which a 22-month-old boy from Minnesota died after a drawer fell on top of him. The fourth case occurred in 2011 when a 2-year-old boy from Virginia died after his fallen dresser trapped him between the drawers. None of the dressers involved had been anchored to the wall.
Children Hurt by Falling Furniture Every Half Hour
Children are particularly at risk when around furniture that may topple easily. Researchers reported in a 2013 study that children under the age of 5 represented 64.3 percent of patients showing up in emergency rooms because of furniture-toppling accidents.
According to the CPSC’s “Anchor It!”, a child is sent to the emergency room every 30 minutes in the United States because of tipped furniture or a falling television. The CPSC offers advice on how to best anchor your child’s furniture on its website.
Exclusively focused on representing plaintiffs, especially in mass tort litigation, Eric Chaffin prides himself on providing unsurpassed professional legal services in pursuit of the specific goals of his clients and their families. Both his work and his cases have been featured in the national press, including on ABC’s Good Morning America.