A recent article appearing in Consumer Reports (CR) revealed some shocking statistics on furniture tip-overs in the US, and parents of younger children should be especially concerned. Unanchored furniture causes severe injuries to one victim every 17 minutes nationwide. Children under six years old are the majority of victims. Unfortunately, the trend is getting worse instead of better: From 2015 to 2016, there was a 33 percent increase in furniture tip-over accidents involving children in this age group.
Injuries from unsecured furniture, televisions, and other heavy pieces can be horrific, but Florida law does allow victims to recover compensation in some cases. A dedicated Ocala, FL products liability attorney can help, but some safety tips on unanchored furniture can help you protect those in your household.
Risks Associated with Furniture Tip-Overs
Furniture injuries may occur when unsecured, top-heavy pieces fall onto a person, crushing or suffocating the victim. Dressers, armoires, televisions, TV entertainment centers, and similar furnishings are the most common culprits, but many injuries have been linked to shorter items.
Children are often victims because the drawers, components, and structures are attractive as playthings. They may climb inside, try to get on top, hang from drawers, or reach for items. Parents may not discover an accident due to unanchored furniture until it is too late, since the child’s body often muffles the sound of furniture toppling over.
Industry Self-Regulation is Lacking
At times, government agencies are aggressive in enacting regulations regarding dangerous products, but none has taken action to address unanchored furniture. Instead, manufacturers self-regulate by adopting industry standards. However, these rules are voluntary and companies can opt out. Many do, since there are high costs associated with implementing some of the more effective fixes to prevent furniture tip-overs.
In addition, some consumer products safety organizations state that the voluntary standards are inadequate to reduce or prevent injuries. Some tests have revealed that properly anchored furniture was still unstable with a 50-pound weight hanging from the top drawer. Researchers also found that pieces below the industry height standard of 30 inches could tip with slight pressure.
Tips to Keep Your Home Safe
The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers a helpful guide on how to anchor furniture to the wall to protect your home’s occupants. There are tips on securing pieces to studs or drywall, as well as more difficult surfaces like plaster, masonry, and exposed brick. Renters may want to anchor furniture despite the damage to walls. Repairing the holes in walls is a much better alternative to injuries or fatalities.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Skilled Ocala, FL Lawyer Today
Even as safety organizations push lawmakers to take action, unanchored furniture continues to present a safety threat in US households. If you or a loved one was injured, an experienced lawyer can help you recover for your losses. At Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law, our products liability legal team has helped many victims who are hurt by unsafe or defective products. We can tell you more about how these cases work at a free consultation, so please call 352-558-8480 or go online to set up an appointment at our Ocala, FL office.