RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Despite nearly two decades of effort by a federal agency to prevent furniture tip-over injuries and deaths by getting parents to anchor those items to walls, many parents refuse to take that simple precaution.
Meanwhile, laws that would require mandatory safety rules for furniture stability remain stuck in Congress.
If you buy a huge piece of furniture like a 75-inch TV, you’re going to make sure something that large and heavy is well-secured, but when it comes to other furniture, many parents aren’t so careful and the results of that negligence could be deadly.
Alissa Carlson knows just how dangerous unanchored furniture can be. Her nanny had just put Carlson’s 3-year-old daughter down for a nap and there was a loud crash.
Frightening nanny-cam video showed the close call for Aris Carlson.
The dresser she was climbing on came down, briefly trapping her ankle underneath it.
“She could have died or gotten twisted under there and crushed – or she could have broken bones, at least,” said Carlson.
Carlson was like an estimated 75-percent of parents who never bothered to secure a heavy piece of furniture.
She told consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia she knew the dresser needed to be anchored, but never did it.
“I’d seen stories on the news, we just thought it wouldn’t happen to us,” she said.
A Consumer Product Safety Commission survey found one reason why parents are so lax about securing furniture.
“Many parents believe they don’t have to anchor furniture as long as they are going to be in same room as a child,” said the CPSC’s Brian Walch.
Immediately after the accident with her daughter, Carlson and her husband took action.
“We had a handyman install steel frame cables on the back (of the dresser),” she said. “Now it won’t fall off the wall.”
The CPSC has been trying for 19 years to educate parents about the dangers of tipping furniture because education is all it can do.
Walch said furniture makers are not required to include anchoring kits with furniture that’s sold.
Back in 2019, advocates got the house to pass a bill called the STURDY Act.
It would have required mandatory safety and stability standards regardless of a piece of furniture’s height, but it died in the Senate. Now, advocates have to start all over again with a new congress.
The CPSC says every two weeks in this country a child dies from a furniture tip-over.
“In addition to the lamentable deaths, we also know 11,000 children a year are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries,” said Walch.
The tip-over involving Aris taught her parents a lesson.
“Anything in our house that could potentially tip over, we anchored to the walls,” said Carlson.
But, since those accidents can happen in a split second, that’s not sound reasoning.
With no federal regulations available, it’s up to you to take action to protect your kids.
The CPSC has a website with many resources available to help you with your furniture anchoring questions.