WASHINGTON – Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is leading the charge to create a national safety standard for dressers that furniture manufacturers such as IKEA would have to meet to prevent tip-over deaths of children.
If passed and signed into law, the STURDY Act, which stands for “Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth,” would direct the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to adopt a “mandatory stability standard for clothing storage units.”
There have been several lawsuits filed against IKEA involving their design of their MALM dresser. According to the CPSC, tip-overs of furniture, appliances and TVs cause roughly 25,400 annual injuries.
In reaction to the lawsuits, IKEA has reportedly made free kits available to mount the dressers to the wall. Casey said the CPSC should recall IKEA’s MALM dresser due to the deaths that have occurred.
“Whether it’s legislation or action or otherwise, I want to eliminate the possibility that a child could be injured or killed, so that means stop the manufacturing. I don’t care how the hell they do it. I want them to take every step necessary,” he told PJM on a conference call. “They have decisions to make when it comes to their product but I hope they would take steps absent legislation, absent any other activity and make sure that when these things go out the door they are safe. Simple as that.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is co-sponsoring Casey’s bill and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced it in the House.
Schakowsky protested the fact that IKEA still sells the same MALM dressers that have tipped over on top of children.
“IKEA’s actions were clearly insufficient. These dressers are not safe,” she said.
Casey said correcting the safety problem is the company’s responsibility.
“This isn’t something that requires years of R&D, OK? There’s a solution right in front of them and that’s why we had to introduce legislation. I wish they would do it on their own. I wish we didn’t have to introduce a bill, but when they don’t act and do it on their own we have to introduce a bill and make it mandatory,” he said.
Blumenthal said the current “voluntary standard” for dresser manufacturers is inadequate.
“These kinds of standards, if enforced, can save lives. They must be enforced — that’s why I believe so strongly that the voluntary standard, although laudable in theory, is inadequate to minimize the risk of a tip-over,” he said.
“I urge that we adopt this legislation so we can have strong mandatory stability standards for free-standing storage units to protect children from this tip-over related death,” he added.