Furniture tip-over dangers: How safe are newly designed dressers?
Sandra Hermiston and Ross McLaughlin, CTV Vancouver
Published Thursday, March 22, 2018 6:00AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 22, 2018 7:44PM PDT
The numbers are frightening: Every 17 minutes someone is injured by furniture, a TV or an appliance tipping over on them, and about every 10 days a child dies from a tip-over incident.
Despite those alarming statistics, furniture, including dressers, is not required to be tested before being sold. And that can be a problem because recent Consumer Reports testing revealed there are big differences when it comes to dresser stability.
Janet McGee’s 22-month old son, Ted, was killed when a dresser tipped over on top of him.
“When I opened the door… right in front of me was his dresser that had fallen forward, and immediately thought oh my God, it is so quiet in here, he has to be under it,” the Minnesota mother said, “I remember having the thought of, I hope this is a dream, but I know this isn’t a dream.”
The dresser that killed Ted was an Ikea Malm. Ikea later recalled the dresser and has since changed its design. The company did not respond to requests for comment about the incident involving Ted McGee.
But it leads to the question: how stable are new dressers currently on the market?
Consumer Reports bought 24 models from different furniture manufacturers, then evaluated them based on three different tests. Thirteen dressers passed all the tests, while 11 failed at least one test.
Dressers from Pottery Barn, Epoch and Sauder, among others, passed CR’s 60-pound test, while models from South Shore and Ameriwood failed a 50-pound test.
Both South Shore and Ameriwood say their products meet voluntary safety standards.
So how can you tell if a dresser in your home is secure? You can’t tell if a dresser is going to tip over just by looking at it, which is why Consumer Reports is pushing for mandatory safety standards, and says all furniture should be properly anchored to a wall.
McGee agrees and says manufacturers should also design and build safer furniture.
“I should be able to purchase something, and put it in my child’s room, and it be safe,” she said.