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Regulatory Compliance, Furniture Stability, Product Safety

AHFA Commends Brands For Tip-Over Advocacy

The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA), a long-time advocate of a mandatory stability standard for clothing storage furniture, commends national brands IKEA, Room & Board, Crate & Barrel and Williams-Sonoma for joining the coalition of manufacturers, regulators, consumer groups and legislators working to reduce furniture tip-over incidents.

The new endorsers of child safety were announced this week by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), co-sponsors of the STURDY Act. The Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act was passed in the House earlier this year but has been stalled in the Senate.

AHFA’s membership includes domestic manufacturers and importers who are among the furniture suppliers for the four, high profile, national retail brands that stated their public support this week.

“When AHFA, its member companies, consumer groups and child safety advocates developed the first ASTM International standard for furniture stability 20 years ago, many national retailers responded by committing to support the voluntary standard,” says AHFA CEO Andy Counts. “But not all.”

The voluntary standard required updating many times over the past two decades in response to changes in consumer behavior and new trends in product design. “Unfortunately, some manufacturers and importers, national retail brands, and, most recently, many e-commerce sites, have continued to ignore the voluntary standard and persisted in marketing non-compliant products.”

Although the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has the authority to recall non-compliant products and stepped up enforcement of the voluntary standard for a time, limited resources and competing priorities impeded those efforts.

“A mandatory stability standard for clothing storage furniture is necessary, so that ALL manufacturers, importers and retailers, including e-commerce sites, are required to put child safety first,” Counts states.

“AHFA welcomes the coalition of national brands to the table. We look forward to seeing their representatives participate on the ASTM International Subcommittee for Furniture Safety, where significant work to develop the new tip-over testing protocols required by STURDY is underway.  And we anticipate the tremendous headway they can make in educating consumers about the dangers of furniture tip-overs, particularly in households with small children. As everyone involved in this effort knows, STURDY cannot end tragic furniture tip-over accidents, because STURDY cannot remove the tens of millions of non-compliant products currently used every day in American homes.

“Instead, we must rely on those with an influential public platform to commit to the difficult work of safety education, including urging consumers to use tip restraints whenever feasible for non-compliant chests and dressers. With the marketing capabilities of these national furniture brands, the authority of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the unparalleled media reach of the Consumer Federation and Consumer Reports, we have the partners we need to successfully raise furniture safety awareness.”