As the U.S. Senate’s failure to act on legislation that would help prevent dresser tip-overs reaches the 17-month mark, another 5,400 dangerous dressers have been recalled.
On July 7, 2022, Samson International issued a joint recall with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for its Universal Broadmoore Cayden Gentleman’s 9-Drawer Chests, stating that the chests are unstable if they are not anchored to the wall and pose tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in death or serious injuries to consumers. Samson received one report of a tip-over incident involving a 10-year-old child.
The recalled chests were sold at Costco Wholesale Warehouses nationwide and online from December 2019 through April 2020 for about $700. They are brown, made of wood, and measure about 49 inches tall, 55 inches wide and 18 inches deep. A label located on the back of each chest contains “Samson International,” the model/item number M71C3180, the month and year of manufacture between September 2019 and November 2019, and the Costco customer item number 1335751.
The recall notice instructs consumers to immediately stop using the recalled chests if they are not properly anchored to the wall and to place them in an area that children cannot access. Consumers can contact Samson for a full refund or a free tip-over restraint kit. Samson will provide free in-home installation of the tip-over restraint kit upon request. Consumers can also return the dressers to any Costco Warehouse for a full refund.
The Samson recall comes as the STURDY Act (Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act), which would require the CPSC to create a mandatory federal safety standard for dressers sold in the United States, has sat stalled in the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation since February 25, 2021. The U.S. House of Representatives voted in June 2021 with bipartisan support to pass the STURDY Act.
The bill marks the third attempt by lawmakers in recent years to strengthen the safety standard. A similar bill passed the House with bipartisan support in September 2019, but unfortunately stalled in the Senate. A bill introduced in 2016 did not receive a vote.
Presently, the stability of dressers sold in the United States is governed by nothing more than a voluntary safety standard created primarily by the furniture industry along with other interested parties.
How Many People Are Injured by Furniture Tip-Overs?
The CPSC reports that from 2018 to 2020, an estimated annual average of 22,500 Americans required hospital emergency-department treatment for injuries caused by tip-overs of furniture, TVs and appliances. Children under age 18 suffered 10,000 (44%) of these tip-over injuries, while they represent just 22 percent of the population. Adults ages 18 to 59 account for 8,400 (37%) of the injuries, while they represent 55 percent of the population. Seniors ages 60 years and older account for 4,200 (19%) of the injuries, while they represent 23 percent of the population.
With respect to chests, bureaus and dressers, the CDC reports that from 2018 to 2020, an estimated annual average of 2,400 children ages 17 and under and 800 adults ages 18 to 59 required hospital emergency-department treatment for injuries caused by tip-overs. From 2000 to 2020, there were 115 fatalities involving tip-overs of chests, bureaus and dressers reported to the CPSC. Some 87 involved children; 5 involved adults; and 23 involved seniors. During that period, an additional 103 fatalities were caused by tip-overs of chests, bureaus and dressers where a TV also was involved. An astounding 102 of those fatalities involved children, while one involved an adult.
Alan M. Feldman, a co-founding partner and product liability attorney at Feldman Shepherd, noted that dresser tip-over accidents often occur when young children wake up and are alone in their bedroom. Feldman said that starting at about age two, curious toddlers may open dresser drawers to climb to the top or to retrieve something in an upper drawer. As toddlers do not have the strength to catch a falling dresser or to lift one that has fallen on top of them, too often the outcome is catastrophic for the children and their families.
“Unstable dressers continue to threaten the health and safety of children across the country,” Feldman said. “The only sure solution is to remove them from homes so that further tragedies can be prevented.”
Feldman’s team at Feldman Shepherd, which includes partners Daniel J. Mann and Edward S. Goldis, has recovered nearly $100 million on behalf of four families whose toddlers died from IKEA dresser tip-overs. In May 2020, the team filed a class action lawsuit against IKEA seeking consumer damages, alleging that the furniture giant carried out a “feeble” recall of nearly 30 million dressers that it knew were prone to tip-over. The IKEA dressers did not comply with voluntary safety standards and had caused death and serious injury to children.