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  • Writer's pictureTri City Furniture, Auburn

Tip Over Danger- Child Safety

Updated: Apr 30

Watch Out! These are some large pieces of furniture, especially in the bedroom. You said there are some changes being made in these pieces, due to the problem of them tipping over! 

Yes, there is a new mandatory law which has been put into effect that deals with the safety of these large pieces of bedroom furniture that are designed to hold clothing!

Consumer Product Safety Commission is taking action to protect consumers from tip-over-related deaths and injuries associated with dressers, chest and armoires.

The law tests for…..

  • stability when the unit is placed on carpeting,

  • stability with loaded drawers and with multiple drawers open

  • testing that simulate the weight of children up to 60 pounds interacting with the unit.

Tipping over must be a major problem! Why has this become an issue now?

So many of these pieces are imports, and they are made lighter weight.  They do not have the inner wall structure which supports the drawers, real wood components,  wood glides, and thinner wall structure, all steps to keep cost low!  When everything is taking out of a unit it is lighter. If a child tried to crawl up it to get the remote or toys on the top, it would easily tip over on top of them.

What is being done to correct this?

The consumer product safety committee is requiring testing of the pieces, which reflect real world conditions….

*such as multiple drawers open, 

*drawers filled extra heavy, 

*units which may sit on soft carpet and 

*the forces that a child might exert while climbing or pulling on the unit!

Those are definitely factors which could contribute to the tipping issue, especially in the light weight pieces.  How are the manufacturers changing their pieces to come under the new rules?

Import companies are in many cases, shortening drawer extension meaning your drawer may only open half way. Therefore the piece can not be side heavy, because it does not open that far. You may have a harder time putting your laundry in though with only 9" of space.

Imports are also adding weight to the bottom of the units, up to 60-100 pounds. The idea again is to make the bottom heavy so it can not tip. None of that is actually help to the piece, just a weight.

The new standard will cause existing models of clothing storage furniture to be discontinued, and actually are pricing them out of the market for most consumers, based on the cost of compliance- reengineering of products and higher shipping costs.

Are all storage pieces included in the law, or is there a certain height requirement?

They start with a minimum height requirement of 27 inches. So, anything over 27 inches in their product line that has extendable drawers is considered to be a storage unit." 

There are a lot of pieces to re-engineer! Many import companies are also making their products smaller, so they do not have to comply with the law. Beware! You may end up with a 28" tall mattress and 25" tall nightstand. If they make it shorter then they do not need to make re-engineer it.

That does include a lot of pieces, and probably a lot of manufacturers.

Yes, just about every import manufacturer has to change their products.  Many of the American made pieces like this, are solid wood and do not have any of these issues, because they are built of solid wood, much like they were constructed many years ago! Having a solid wood back to start, keeps the weight against the wall. Also having corner blocked drawers and dowelled joints really makes a piece more study. Parts such as a "dust cover" the lining in-between drawers is always removed in an imported product, but it always helps with dust, lost items in drawers and the stability and the weight of the piece.

There is a generation that will soon not know what quality furniture looked like. They will only have junk to choose from and never know that once there were better options with many features and benefits.

So, are the products being changed to comply?

Yes, the mandatory law was put into effect this past fall. Some products have been discontinued.  Others were changed to comply.  Many of my catalogs and companies have not changed at all, but again, we focus on American Made. If you have bought that way in the past, you most likely will be able to get a matching piece to your set in the future.

Do you think this will stop the tipping over issue?

Not totally, but for the lower quality furniture, they will have to change or be gone.  I see there still could be issues, unless we teach our kids about safety.  Them climbing up on top of dressers to get  something may not tip the piece over, but let’s say there is a large tv on the top of the cabinet….that could still be tipped off!  We need to protect our kids, but we need to be aware of potential hazards!  We need to take action to prevent problems! Stay Safe and look around your home with 911 eyes. What areas could cause a problem. How can we change it? How can we teach our kids to stay safe around it?


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