Photo shows four people in a house
Brett Horn, right, gives a tour of Charlie's House to Greg, Katie and Laura Crowley of Crowley Furniture and Mattress.

Dramatic tip-over video and latest recalls demand attention

More bedroom chests sold by online retailers and in IKEA stores have been recalled because of “serious tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in death or injuries to children,” the Consumer Products Safety Commission announced Feb. 26 and March 4.

In a related development, KGET television in Bakersfield, Calif., recently aired a “nanny cam” video of a dresser falling over as a 3-year-old child attempted to climb up its drawers. Fortunately, she avoided being caught beneath it. Aris is the daughter of the station’s chief meteorologist, Alissa Carlson.

“The nanny had just put Aris down for a nap, and then after about 10 minutes, there was a large crash,” Carlson said in the news report. “What Aris actually did was take out every single drawer, and she would climb, and then it totally toppled over.”

‘This could happen to your child’

The family since has had the dresser anchored to the wall.

“I had a lot of mom guilt about it, and now I’ve kind of gotten past that hurdle and think, we need to tell people to please do this because this could happen to your child,” Carlson said.

That is a message that furniture retailers must tell their customers. They also should equip them with tip-restraint kits appropriate for the chests or dressers sold.

This incident was reported to members of ASTM International’s Subcommittee on Furniture Safety by Molly Lynyak, the manager of technical committee operations for the voluntary standard-setting organization.

ASTM International takes notice

The Home Furnishings Association has a seat on that subcommittee, which recommends safety standards for products such as clothing storage units.

Lynyak included observations by Brett Horn, a member of the subcommittee:

  • This dresser appears to be a well-made, heavy unit (If it is compliant to the current standard it will be further evidence that the standard may need to be strengthened).
  • It is on carpet — as a majority of bedroom units are and the current standard does not address.
  • There are clothes inside the dresser — as it is intended, and the current standard does not address.
  • No intentional misuse by the child; she appears to be attempting to look inside the top drawer.  She is interacting (as children do) with her environment.
  • Multiple drawers were opened and weight was applied. The current standard does not address this.
Photo shows a furniture tip-restraint kit
The Crowley-Charlie’s House tip-restraint kit

Horn and his wife, Jenny, are the founders of Charlie’s House in Kansas City, Mo. It is named for their 2-year-old son, who was killed in a tip-over accident in 2007. Their organization has built a child’s safety demonstration house, which will open this spring. HFA member Crowley Furniture and Mattress in Liberty, Mo., is a key supporter of Charlie’s House, providing bedroom furnishings. Crowley and Charlie’s House also distribute thousands of co-branded tip-restraint kits in the Kansas City area each year.

Recalls impact IKEA, Home Depot, Safavieh units

CPSC has forced several recalls based on testing of chests and dressers it conducted in 2019. It has said that 9 percent of more than 180 units failed to meet the ASTM standard for stability, which requires a chest or dresser to stand with 50 pounds applied to its open top drawer or drawers. Otherwise, the unit is empty.

IKEA recalled KULLEN 3-Drawer Chests March 4 after selling approximately 970,000 units in the U.S. and Canada in IKEA stores and online from April 2005 to December 2019. CPSC said it received six reports of tip-over incidents and two reports of minor injuries. In addition, units “imported after August 12, 2019 do not comply with the performance requirements of the updated version of the U.S. consensus standard (ASTM 2057-19),” CPSC said.

The chests are just over 28 inches high. ASTM last year lowered the height of units covered by its stability standard from 30 inches to 27 inches. Before that, units shorter than 30 inches high did not have to meet the stability standard.

Purchasers can contact IKEA for a refund or a kit to anchor chests to the wall.

No incidents reported for other units

One of the units recalled Feb. 26 is a 4-Drawer Whitewash chest imported from India by Home Depot and sold online at homedepot.com. “Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled

Photo shows a chest of drawers
The recalled Home Depot chest

chest unless properly anchored to the wall, and place it in an area that children cannot access.  Contact Home Depot for a full refund with free chest pick-up,” CPSC said.

The other units recalled are Safavieh, Aura and Silas 3-drawer chests imported from Vietnam by Safavieh. CPSC issued the same caution and recall message. It said these units were sold online at wayfair.com, overstock.com, gilt.com and other online retailers.

The HFA urges furniture retailers not to sell products that don’t meet ASTM standards.

HFA members also should tell customers when they sell compliant products but make sure that customers get the equipment needed to anchor units to hard surfaces so they can’t tip over.

Dining set sold by Costco recalled

The CPSC announced another recall Feb. 27: a Bayside Furnishings 9-piece dining set imported from Vietnam by Whalen LLC and sold at Costco stores and online at Costco.com.

“Consumers should immediately stop using the dining chairs and contact Whalen for instructions to receive a full refund,” CPSC said. “Whalen is contacting all known purchasers directly. Whalen has received reports of approximately 178 chairs breaking. No injuries have been reported.”

The IKEA KULLEN chests recalled March 4 sold for about $60, according to CPSC. They were manufactured in “various countries.” Retailers who sell more substantial furniture at higher price points should consider telling customers that part of what goes into the price of a quality dresser or chest is compliance with safety standards. Retailers who sell furniture face-to-face can assure customers that they care about safety in the home and don’t sell products that fail to meet those standards or might be recalled. Safety should be a top concern for retailers and their customers.

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