The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that 1.6 million Ameriwood dressers being sold at Walmart are being recalled because of concern they can tip over and fall on children. At least one injury has been reported to the CPSC of a dresser toppling over on a four-year-old child.
The drawers are unstable if not anchored to the wall, “posing serious tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in death or injuries to children,” according to the CPSC. The dressers failed to comply with performance requirements of a voluntary industry standard, the agency said, according to the Daily Hornet.
The recall affects Mainstay 4-drawer dresser with plastic drawer glides and a single decorative handle on each drawer. They were sold at Walmart and other retail stores, as well as on Walmart.com, from April 2009 through May 2016. The dressers measured about 40” high by 28” wide by 15” deep. The dressers cost approximately $60 and were available in six colors: alder, black forest, white, weathered oak, walnut, and ruby red.
Consumers who own dressers affected by the recall should immediately stop using them if they are not properly anchored to the wall or are placed in an area that is accessible to children. Model numbers included in the recall are: 5412012WP, 5412301WP, 5412328WP, 5412015WY, 5412301WY, 5412012PCOM, 5412015PCOM, 5412026PCOM, 5412213PCOM, 5412214PCOM, 5412301PCOM, 5412317PCOM, and 5412328PCOM. The numbers can be found on the dresser’s instruction manual, the Daily Hornet says.
Also, numbers, descriptions, and photos of the chest of drawers being recalled are available on the CPSC website.
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Recommended Safety Precautions
Chief Technologist at the Good Housekeeping Institute, Rachel Rothman says that parents can avoid this type of accident with some safety precautions. She recommends “installing drawer latches on all dresser and bureau drawers to prevent children from climbing and possible subsequent entrapment underneath if furniture tips over.” Rothman added, “It’s best to attach big pieces directly into wall studs with brackets. And be mindful to never place heavy items atop cabinets to avoid them ever falling off.”
Ameriwood Home, a division of Dorel Home Furnishing Inc., is based in Tiffin, Ohio. The company is offering a free repair kit that includes a wall anchoring device and feet to stabilize the dresser. Until the dresser is safely anchored and secured, consumers are advised to keep the dresser in an area that children cannot access, according to the Daily Hornet.
Previous Accidents Involving Dressers
In February 2016, a 22-month-old boy was found dead under a fallen IKEA Malm chest of drawers that was not affixed to the wall. This is the third young child to die in the United States in this manner in recent years. In February 2014, a two-year-old from Pennsylvania was killed and just three months later, a 23-month-old boy died in Washington. All tip-over incidents involved the self-assembly Malm chest of drawers, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
IKEA launched a safety campaign in 2014 after the two boys were killed in separate incidents. The mother of the Pennsylvania child filed a wrong-death lawsuit against IKEA claiming that the 60-kilogram dresser’s “defective and dangerous design” lacked sufficient warnings. A total of 29 million IKEA dressers were recalled following reports of these fatalities.
Safety Consultant Advice
Gail Greatorex, a product safety consultant from Melbourne, Australia, told that over 300 children sustain injuries from tip-overs each year in Australia. In October 2015, a toddler was killed after trying to climb a dresser. In February 2013, another child was crushed by a falling television at home. “Bookshelves and chests of drawers of any brand are prone to tip-overs if not secured to the wall,” remarked Greatorex.
Modern furniture is often lightweight and compact and a child’s weight can easily cause it to tip. Anchoring is a simple, affordable way to help ensure the safety of children in the home. The best solution is that these products be sold with a tethering kit and clear instructions and warnings to ensure the furniture is securely anchored to the wall, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Advice on Filing a Product Liability Lawsuit
If you or someone you know has been injured by a defective or recalled product, you may have valuable legal rights. Attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).