Furniture Tip-Overs Carry a High Risk of Death and Severe Injury for Children
Parents go to great lengths to keep their children safe: they teach them not to talk to strangers, they require hand holding to cross the street, and they research the best and safest cribs, register for product recalls, and may even purchase organic baby food to avoid the risks of pesticides. Unfortunately, not all safety practices prevent injuries from occurring, especially when potential hazards go undisclosed or products are defective. Such is often the case with tall furniture that may not even carry a tip-over warning.
Falling Furniture Causes One Child Death Per Year
Tall furniture—chests of drawers, dressers, entertainment centers, bookshelves and more—are relatively safe in most circumstances. However, when it comes to children who may climb on furniture, the center of gravity is shifted, causing the piece of furniture to topple over. The weight of that furniture (paired with any items that may be stored in or on the item) can cause severe injury or even death. In fact, data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that, between 2000 and 2011, 349 consumers (84 percent of which were younger than age nine) suffered death because of falling furniture. Another 43,000 (59 percent under age 18) were injured during that same time period.
Televisions on Furniture Exasperate the Issue
In most homes, televisions rest atop dressers, chests of drawers, or entertainment centers. This only further increases the risk of a furniture tip-over—so much so, in fact, that even the slightest shift in an item's center of gravity can cause it to tip and fall. These tip-overs also happen to be more fatal, according to the CPSC, causing more than half (62 percent) of all furniture tip-over injuries.
Many Products Lack Adequate Warning
With so many deaths, one would think that furniture manufacturers would provide tethering equipment or, at the very least, some sort of warning. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In fact, one popular furniture line only issued a warning to parents after their products were involved in the deaths of three children. The manufacturer never recalled these products, and no tethering equipment was ever offered; an online warning was simply released that encouraged parents to purchase a tethering kit to secure the furniture.
Design Defects Often a Factor
Although knowledge of the risks of tip-overs is widespread in the furniture industry, and despite encouragement from the CSPC to include anchoring kits in all tall furniture, many dressers continue to fall short in the safety arena. Instead, dressers are manufactured for style and aesthetics. Moreover, few manufacturers include safety warnings within their product packaging. In some cases, the failure to include these warnings could constitute negligence for which victims may be able to pursue compensation through a product liability lawsuit. Therefore, if you find yourself victim to a faulty or defective product, it is wise to consult with skilled attorney who can assess your case and determine your best options with regard to moving forward.
At Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd., we are committed to helping victims and their families get the compensation they deserve. As aggressive advocates, we use our resources, skills, and knowledge to build a strong case against all responsible parties while ensuring that the rights of our clients are protected. Get the representation you need and deserve. Schedule a free initial consultation our Appleton product liability attorneys or Green Bay product liability attorneys by calling 920-739-7366 today.