As federal lawmakers “try, try again” to pass the STURDY Act — which would help to prevent dresser tip-overs — another 1,200 unsafe children’s dressers that do not comply with the furniture industry’s voluntary safety standard for stability have been recalled.
On July 8, 2021, Canyon Furniture Company issued a joint recall with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for its Creekside Kids Five-Drawer Chests, which were sold at Rooms To Go stores nationwide and online for about $430. The dressers came in charcoal and chestnut colors, and measure about 43.5 inches tall, 31.5 inches wide and 18 inches deep. “Canyon Furniture Co,” SKU number 34595035 (charcoal) or 34495045 (chestnut), and the manufacture date are printed on a label on the back of the unit. The recalled chests were manufactured and sold between April 2020 and March 2021.
The recall notice instructs consumers to immediately stop using the recalled chests and contact Rooms To Go for a free repair, replacement, or a full refund of the purchase price in the form of a Rooms To Go store credit, including free pick-up of the chest.
The recall comes 15 days after the U.S. House of Representatives voted with bipartisan support to pass 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. The legislation still must pass the U.S. Senate, where it is presently before the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
The bill marks the third attempt by lawmakers in recent years to strengthen the safety standard. In 2020 and 2019, similar legislation passed the House with bipartisan support, but unfortunately stalled in the Senate twice.
The CPSC reports that between 2000 and 2019, tip-overs of furniture, televisions and appliances caused 571 deaths, 469 of which involved children. Some 314 of the deaths involved children between ages 1 and 3 ½ years. Moreover, the CPSC estimates that furniture, television and appliance tip-overs caused an annual average of 25,500 emergency department (ED)-treated injuries between 2017 and 2019. Of the ED-treated injuries, an estimated annual average of 2,600 involved children who were injured by chests, bureaus and dressers that tipped over.
Alan M. Feldman, a co-founding partner and product liability attorney at Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP, commented that “while we are pleased that Canyon Furniture Company is making the effort to protect children from its dangerous dressers, the epidemic of dresser tip-over deaths and injuries involving young children demands that lawmakers as well as all furniture manufacturers take immediate action to protect children against this serious risk that is well known to the industry.”
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.