At the end of January 2021, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released its annual ‘Product Instability or Tip-Over Injuries and Fatalities Associated with Televisions, Furniture, and Appliances: 2020 Report.’ The furniture tip-over report takes an in-depth look at the injuries and fatalities related to tip-overs, which can involve appliances, furniture, televisions, or some combination of the three.
The overall trend line for these unfortunate incidents continues to move downward; the total number of incidents reported in 2019 was 22,400, down from 25,500 in 2018. Of those incidents, the ‘All Furniture’ category, which includes furniture/TV/appliance, totaled 17,900 incidents in 2019.
The data is further analyzed by age to show the categories of greatest risk. Children, defined as under 18 years of age in the report, were the age group with the most furniture-related injuries with 44%; an average of 11,300 incidents between 2017-2019 (8,800 incidents attributed to the ‘All Furniture’ category). More than 5,000 average annual incidents were reported for children 4 years of age or younger.
As an industry and an organization, HFA has worked closely with the CPSC on its annual ‘Anchor It!’ Campaign to increase awareness for consumers and parents and supported and encouraged our members to partner with local organizations for the same purpose. We featured several of our member efforts at an American Home Furnishings Alliance Regulatory Summit in Greensboro, NC, in 2019.
Furniture tip-over remains an important issue for our industry; we have participated in the voluntary standard process through ASTM, which creates a consensus-based standard as an opt-in for manufacturers. Currently, that voluntary standard sets the appropriate testing weight for manufacturers complying with the standard at 50 pounds, the average weight (according to CDC data) of a five-year-old child. Referring to the data mentioned above and the injury statistics, this represents the highest risk category.
The CPSC is currently in a rulemaking related to a mandatory standard for furniture tip-overs, which will examine this age-weight consideration for testing and other variables like dynamic testing factors and flooring surfaces (i.e., carpet vs. hardwood). The impact of this issue on children and families and the furniture industry cannot be understated. That is one of the primary reasons that HFA supports the current rulemaking process within CPSC.
We look forward to our continued work with the CPSC and other stakeholders on these issues in the months ahead. Download the full report.