Short furniture can cause tipping injuries if poorly designed

About once every two weeks, a child is killed in America when a piece of furniture falls on them. Such injuries happen about once every 15 minutes. Often, these pieces of furniture are dressers.

This fact is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The job of this independent U.S. government agency is to, among other things, test the safety of products sold to Americans. They recalled a million dressers this October.

Waves of dresser recalls

The late spring through October 2019 saw five recalls of dressers that tested as unsafe, and Consumer Reports expects the trend to continue.

The October recalls included dressers sold by Kmart and Sears for about $40 from 2013 to September 2019. The four-drawer dressers were 32 inches down to just under 30 inches tall. Other recalled dressers stood 36 inches tall and sold online by several major retailers for about $350 since the start of 2017.

According to CPSC, these dressers could injure or kill if not anchored to the wall, although there are no reports of this happening.

Some short dressers missed by safety standards

Consumer Reports (CR) had already reported that some of these dressers failed the nonprofit organization’s testing, done even though the industry’s voluntary standards did not cover dressers under 30 inches tall.

Groups have pushed for stronger standards covering shorter furniture, and CR notes that one of the recalls is the first for a model so short.

CR quotes its manager of home and safety policy as saying, “If dressers are unstable and could hurt kids, the law requires furniture makers to recall them. And that is as true for short dressers as for tall ones. The CPSC has now made that clear.”

Companies offering different remedies

According to the nonprofit, the makers of the two dresser brands offer consumers different remedies. One offers free anchoring kits and free at-home installation. CR does not think this goes far enough. The other company offers a choice of either free anchoring kits and installation or a refund and free pickup or shipping.