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Tip-over death prompts recall

The Consumer Products Safety Commission today announced the recall of a three-drawer chest (seen above; colors vary) that reportedly killed a 2-year-old child in a tip-over accident.

The 56-pound, 27½-inch high chest was recalled by South Shore Industries Ltd. Of Canada. Units were manufactured in Canada and Mexico, with nearly 320,000 sold in the U.S. and Canada online by Walmart.com, Amazon.com, Target.com and other online retailers from October 2009 through July 2018 for about $60, according to the CPSC.

No details were given about the fatality. CPSC also said South Shore received a report of another child sustaining bruises and scratches from a tip-over.

The tip-over problem has received widespread attention over the past 20 years. ASTM set a voluntary safety standard in 2000, but it only covers clothing storage units over 30 inches in height.

Stricter standard considered

ASTM is considering a proposal to revise that standard to cover units 27 inches and higher. The Home Furnishings Association sits on ASTM’s Furniture Safety Subcommittee and voted FOR that proposed revision. However, because there were some negative votes, the subcommittee is meeting Friday to review objections before taking a second vote.

Meanwhile, the CPSC has warned furniture retailers against selling units that don’t meet the ASTM safety standard. To comply, units must be able to stand upright with all drawers open, and also to stand upright with the top drawer open and 50 pounds of weight applied to the open top drawer.

In addition, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., has introduced a bill to set even stricter, mandatory safety standards.

The CPSC has documented thousands of tip-over accidents, both involving furniture only or objects – such as televisions – placed on top of furniture. Most of the individuals injured or killed are children who pull, push or climb on the furniture. In 2015, CPSC launched the Anchor It! campaign, recommending that consumers secure furniture to walls or floors to prevent tip-overs. HFA fully supports that message.

The product recalled is South Shore’s Libra-style 3-drawer chest. Sometimes it was sold as part of a three-piece bedroom suit, but only the dresser is being recalled. “The recalled chests are unstable if they are not anchored to the wall, posing serious tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in death or injuries to children,” CPSC said.

Recall information

CPSC also published this advisory:

“Consumers should immediately stop using any recalled chest that is not properly anchored to the wall, and place it in an area that children cannot access. Consumers should contact South Shore to select one of the following recall options:

•   Consumers can receive a full refund with free pick-up of the chest;

•   Consumers can also remove the drawer slides from one side of the chest and receive packaging along with a prepaid shipping label from the company to mail in the drawer slides for a full refund; or

•   Consumers can receive a free tip-over restraint kit and can request a one-time free in-home installation of the kit.”

Purchasers of the chest should call South Shore toll-free at 855-215-4932 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or contact the company online at www.SouthShoreFurniture.com and click on Recall Information for more information.