Senator Casey champions STURDY Act in wake of viral dresser video
WASHINGTON DC — U.S. Senator Bob Casey is calling for action in the wake of a viral video of a two year old boy saving his twin brother after a dresser fell on top of him. The video, from Utah, was posted by the boys father to raise awareness about the danger of furniture not anchored to the wall.
Casey released a statement, vowing to re-introduce a bill he co-sponsored last June, the STURDY Act.
“Horrifying incidents, like the one appearing in this video, show why we need strong, enforceable stability standards for furniture that can harm children. Unstable dressers and storage units continue to present a danger to our nation’s kids. It’s a miracle that a life wasn’t lost in this incident, and the next child may not be so fortunate,” said Casey. “This should be a wake-up call for every member of Congress that our children need safety standards right away. I intend to reintroduce the STURDY Act in the 115th Congress and hope for bipartisan support to get this commonsense legislation passed.”
More information about the bill:
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. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), tip-overs of furniture, TVs, and appliances cause around 3 injuries per hour – 25,400 per year.1 Between 2000 and 2011, furniture, TV, and appliance tip-overs caused at least 363 fatalities, and 82 percent of the victims were under 8 years old. Of these 363 fatalities, 201 involved furniture tip-overs.
Clothing storage units, including chests, bureaus, and dressers, are a major category of furniture at risk for tipping over.2 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 recent toddler deaths linked to falling dressers, including one in February 2016.3
Current Industry Standard
Currently, there is a voluntary stability standard for clothing storage units that was developed by the industry standards organization ASTM International in conjunction with industry stakeholders, CPSC staff, and safety advocates. However, the current industry standard is not strong enough to adequately minimize tip-over risk. Some manufacturers have interpreted the stability tests to allow the use of a wall strap so that furniture can meet the safety standard as long as it passes the tests while attached to the wall. Given that many consumers do not or cannot use safety straps in their residences, furniture that requires wall straps to be stable is not sufficiently safe.4 Furthermore, the ASTM safety standard is voluntary and, therefore, does not require compliance by all furniture manufacturers.
The STURDY Act
The STURDY Act directs the CPSC to adopt a stronger, mandatory stability standard for clothing storage units. The bill gives ASTM 180 days from the date of enactment to publish a stronger stability standard for clothing storage units. If the CPSC determines that the industry standard (1) adequately protects children from tip-over related deaths and injuries and (2) is likely to be substantially complied with by furniture manufacturers, the CPSC would adopt it as a mandatory consumer product safety rule. If ASTM does not publish an adequate voluntary standard within 180 days, the CPSC would be required to issue a final, mandatory safety standard for clothing storage units within 540 days of enactment.