From grasping a finger to the first mouthful of solid food to pulling up and peering over the railing of the crib, a baby’s first years are full of exploration! The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) is working with its member companies to help parents ensure their youngsters stay safe through all of those early adventures.
“This year AHFA has joined with the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) in its annual awareness campaign to alert parents and caregivers about product safety issues,” said AHFA Vice President of Communications Patricia Bowling.
To help keep children out of harm’s way, especially as they become toddlers, AHFA has produced a toolkit of social media messages and information graphics that manufacturers and retailers alike can find at www.babysafetymonth.org. The materials urge parents to select furnishings that comply with ASTM F2057, a voluntary stability standard for clothing storage furniture.
“When shopping for a chest or dresser for a child’s room, consumers should consider stability compliance their top priority. To assist in this effort, many of our member companies have been working this year to make compliance information easier to find in product descriptions on their websites,” Bowling reports. “Some leading e-commerce sites also are joining in the effort. Whether shopping online or in a retail store, we urge parents to confirm stability compliance before they buy.”
But the industry also recognizes that many parents use secondhand or repurposed furniture when outfitting a young child’s room. “Consequently, our 2020 Baby Safety Month messages also emphasize anchoring furniture,” Bowling explains.
Materials in the Baby Safety Month toolkit encourage parents to anchor their furniture at the same time they cover electrical outlets, lock cabinets and put a gate in front of the stairs. These other safety measures are considered “routine” when baby-proofing a home, and devices to help parents accomplish these safeguards are easy to find in stores. But parents often report that they are unaware of furniture tip-over hazards and are unfamiliar with furniture anchoring devices. Recognizing this information gap, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launched www.AnchorIt.gov in 2015.
AHFA’s 2020 safety campaign tells parents to: “Anchor furniture even if you think it won’t tip. Anchor it even if you think they won’t climb. Anchor it even if the furniture is new, and especially if it’s not.”
Data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows, on average, four children under the age of six die each year when a chest or dresser tips over on them. When accidents involving TVs are added to the equation, the average number of fatalities involving children and clothing storage furniture more than doubles, to nine per year.
The number of companies producing nursery and children’s furniture has declined in recent years, and only 10 current AHFA members now manufacture or import products in this segment. However, the stability standard applies to all clothing storage furniture, not just products intended for use in a child’s room. More than 50 AHFA members produce adult bedroom furniture that is subject to the stability standard.
“With leadership from our member companies, the goal is to make stability compliance and tip restraint information a standard part of the product description for all clothing storage furniture,” Bowling said. “Participating in Baby Safety Month was a great way to shine the spotlight on those efforts and to give more attention to the ‘Anchor It!’ message.”
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