The risk of tip-over accidents prompted another recall, the Consumer Products Safety Commission said Sept. 25. The order covers three-drawer chests imported by Home Meridian International.
“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. “The chests do not comply with the performance requirements of the U.S. voluntary industry standard (ASTM F2057-17).”
The recall is proactive. CPSC said no incidents or injuries associated with the chests were reported.
CPSC is testing furniture. Home Meridian Co-President Lee Boone said CPSC purchased these chests from an online retailer and they failed CPSC testing. In August, Kirkland’s confirmed that a recall of two of its products was initiated by CPSC testing. No incidents or injuries were reported for those units, either. But in that case and the latest recall, CPSC warned that owners 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.” Boone said Home Meridian did provide tip-restraint kits with its units.
Safety matters more than standards
Boone said the company believed the chests did not fall within the scope of the ASTM standard because they’re accent chests and not clothing storage units meant to be placed in bedrooms. Nevertheless, it agreed to the recall.
Speaking generally and not about this recall, CPSC Public Affairs Officer John Hoellwarth said that standards set important guidelines but safety is what matters. Unsafe products should not be on the market.
In May, CPSC initiated a recall of a South Shore Industries chest that was 27 1/2 inches high, although the ASTM standard at that time only covered units over 30 inches high. That product was associated with a death. Since then, ASTM has revised its standard to cover units down to 27 inches in height.
Recalled product was made in Vietnam
Home Meridian is based in High Point, N.C. The chests were imported from Vietnam. According to CPSC, the pieces are “Mid-Century three-drawer accent chests in a brown finish (model DS-D146-002) or white finish (model DS-D146-005). The model number can be found on a label on the back of the recalled chests. The Mid-Century modern style chests have three drawers with six copper-colored drawer pulls. The chests measure 32-inches high, 32-inches wide, 16-inches deep and weigh about 75 pounds.”
The chests were sold at Nebraska Furniture Mart stores in Nebraska, Kansas and Texas, and online at Wayfair.com, Amazon.com, BedBathandBeyond.com and other online retailers from March 2017 through June 2019 for about $250.
CPSC advises purchasers to “contact Home Meridian to receive a free tip-over restraint kit mailed to the home, a one-time, free in-home installation of the tip-over restraint kit, or a prepaid shipping label to mail in the drawer slides for a full refund” (instructions here). Contact information is 800-819-4796 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or online at www.homemeridian.com.
The HFA focuses on safety
The latest recall adds to the urgency surrounding the tip-over issue. The industry will focus on furniture stability at the American Home Furnishings Alliance Regulatory Summit Oct. 2-3 in Colfax, N.C. The event will include a retail panel with Home Furnishings Association members Greg Crowley of Crowley Furniture & Mattress and Jameson Dion of City Furniture. Also on the panel is Chris Fox of Raymour & Flanigan. CPSC Commissioner Peter Feldman will speak. HFA will report on the conference.
In June, HFA asked CPSC to set a mandatory stability standard. The industry currently relies on a voluntary standard established by ASTM International. HFA holds a seat on ASTM’s Furniture Safety subcommittee.
In addition, Harper’s Law takes effect Oct. 12 in New York. It mandates that new clothing storage units sold by retailers comply with the newly adopted ASTM stability standard, ASTM 2057-19, or a previous version, ASTM 2057-17, which requires the inclusion of tip restraints and a permanent label warning of tip-over dangers.
HFA urges all retailers to sell only clothing storage units that meet ASTM standards.