Written by Steven Keith
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 00:00
SPRINGFIELD — In the wake of two nationwide recalls of dressers made by Bexco and Gemme Juvenile and the tragedies that resulted when children attempted to climb up the dressers, including the 2011 death of a 2-year-old Barrington toddler, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan launched a statewide awareness campaign last week to alert parents and caregivers about the danger of furniture tip-over accidents.
“It’s important for parents to know that unsecured, heavy furniture falling over on a child causes preventable injuries and deaths so that they can secure dressers, bookcases, stoves and televisions in their homes,” said Madigan in a press release.
Madigan launched the campaign on behalf of the Illinois Safe Home Coalition that she created to respond and educate the public to product safety dangers. Members of the Safe Home Coalition include Kids In Danger, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians, the Illinois Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners, the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Illinois PIRG, the Illinois Poison Center, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Shane’s Foundation and the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital.
The Safe Home Coalition will be distributing a poster statewide to educate parents and caregivers on securing furniture and televisions in their homes to prevent tip-over accidents.
“The posters are being distributed through the members of the Safe Home Coalition,” said Maura Possley, a press secretary for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s Office. “For example, the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians is mailing them out to each of their 2,900 members. Members are also including it on their websites and Facebook pages. We will send copies to children’s hospitals and retailers and ask that they be posted. Copies can also be requested from our office.”
To view or download a copy of the poster, visit www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/pressroom/2013_02/Tip_Over_Poster.pdf.
The poster urges parents and caregivers of small children to purchase safety straps and brackets that anchor furniture.
“Safety straps and brackets can be purchased from online retailers,” said Possley. “Some big box store and home improvement store locations also carry the straps.”
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled the dressers made by Bexco and Gemme Juvenile last week.
“The particular dressers, made for nurseries and baby’s rooms, were recalled because they tipped over and killed children,” said Kids In Danger Executive Director Nancy Cowles. “Parents assume that if they buy a product, made for a nursery, it will be safe for use. However, there are many other dressers, bookcases, televisions, stoves, etc. out there that can pose the same risk.
“Current standards require that all dressers, wardrobes, etc. come with anchoring straps and instructions for securing the project to the wall or floor. There are also parts of the standard that require that the product be tested to avoid tip-overs. For instance, it should be tested so that when everything is open — all the drawers, any doors on a wardrobe, etc. — it won’t tip. It should also be tested so that each drawer can withstand a certain amount of weight when it is open to avoid these tip-overs. But these standards are voluntary, not mandatory federal standards.”
Since 2011, at least five Illinois children have been killed in furniture tip-over accidents, and each year an estimated 22,800 children under the age of 9 go to emergency rooms because of injuries caused by unsecured furniture, televisions and appliances.
“A child dies every two weeks from a tip-over — either furniture, televisions or appliances, such as stoves,” said Cowles.
Madigan urges families to follow guidelines provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to secure furniture in their homes: anchor furniture to the wall or floor; place televisions on sturdy, low-base stands or furniture, or anchor furniture and the television on its base, and push the television as far back to the wall as possible; keep remote controls, toys and other items of interest to children off of television stands or furniture; keep television and cable cords out of reach; and ensure that freestanding kitchen ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.
Consumers seeking more information on the risk of furniture tip-over accidents can contact Madigan’s Product Recall Hotline at (888) 414-7679, TTY (800) 964-3012 and (866) 310-8398 for Spanish speakers.
Madigan also urges parents and caregivers to sign up for email notifications of recalled products at www.recalls.gov.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 15:33