WASHINGTON – Three U.S. senators and one house representative have written letters to multiple furniture industry associations urging manufacturers and retailers to comply with the new STURDY furniture tip-over standard. STURDY went into effect Sept. 2.
Led by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), the team of politicians, which included Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), the letter pushed industry companies to ensure all furniture available in stores and online complies with the new rules, while warning of the risks of selling non-compliant furniture.
Versions of the letter were sent to the Home Furnishings Assn., Retail Industry Leaders Assn., the American Home Furnishings Alliance and the National Retail Federation.
“This law will have a tremendous impact on safety and will save lives,” the letter reads. “Manufacturers and retailers must take prompt action to comply with, and even exceed, the requirements set forth by the standard. Children’s lives are at stake. … The burden is on your companies to be good corporate partners, come into compliance imminently and to provide this information to consumers. Delay or hesitation will not only have civil and criminal repercussions for your members, but also may cost lives.”
The new standard is based on ASTM International’s F2057-23 voluntary standard, which was voted to meet the requirements of the STURDY Act on April 19 of this year in a 3-1 vote. Signed into law last December, STURDY represented the collaboration between the furniture industry and consumer safety groups including Parents Against Tip-overs.
The STURDY Act changes the stability standard for manufacturers of clothing storage units from voluntary to mandatory. That standard went into effect on Sept. 2, meaning that all furniture manufactured after that date must comply.
To the HFA’s Mark Schumacher:
Dear Mr. Mark Schumacher,
We write to you today to urge prompt compliance with the safety standard required under the Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth (STURDY) Act, which passed into law in December 2022. The STURDY Act directed the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to adopt a mandatory stability standard for new furniture to protect children from furniture tip-overs. As a result, CPSC recently adopted an industry and consumer-developed standard, ASTM F2057-23, as the mandatory standard with enforcement beginning earlier this month. As the lead sponsors of the STURDY Act, we urge your retailers to expeditiously come into compliance with these new safety and stability requirements to ensure consumers can purchase the safest furniture possible now. Failing to do so puts children at risk of injury or death.
Furniture tip-overs have tragically impacted thousands of families. Tip-overs can occur when children pull, hang, or climb on drawers and the piece of furniture is not anchored to the wall. CPSC estimates an average of 22,500 emergency room injuries are treated each year when furniture tips over; 44 percent of these injuries are suffered by children. Since 2000, there have been more than 581 deaths associated with furniture, TVs, and appliance tip-overs; a child was the victim in 81 percent of these incidents. Efforts over the last decade to encourage caregivers to anchor furniture to the wall helped to lower fatal tip-over incidents but did not eliminate risk—more is needed.
As a result of the STURDY Act, federal law now requires any furniture manufactured after September 1, 2023 to meet new stability and testing requirements; manufacturers must mimic real-world conditions when testing their furniture to ensure it can resist tipping over onto children. This law will have a tremendous impact on safety and will save lives. Manufacturers and retailers must take prompt action to comply with, and even exceed, the requirements set forth by the standard. Children’s lives are at stake.
Manufacturers and retailers should act with urgency to ensure all furniture available in stores and online is compliant with the new safety and stability standard. This means prioritizing manufacturing of new, compliant furniture in lieu of selling non-compliant, stockpiled furniture. If any of your members do continue to sell non-compliant furniture that was manufactured on or prior to September 1, they should label it to ensure parents and caregivers understand the safety implications and can make safer choices for their families. We also encourage your members to provide consumers with guidance on how to properly anchor furniture to their walls. The burden is on your retailers to be good corporate partners, come into compliance imminently, and to provide this information to consumers. Delay or hesitation will not only have civil and criminal repercussions for your members, but also may cost lives.
The STURDY Act brought parent advocates, consumer advocates, retailers, and manufacturers together with the shared goal of prioritizing children’s safety. We expect that this cooperation will continue as the STURDY Act is implemented—there is nothing more important than protecting children.
Senator Robert P. Casey
Senator Richard Blumenthal
Senator Amy Klobuchar
Representative Jan Schakowsky