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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
Attorney • (877) 377-7848

Anchor It! Tips to Prevent Tip-Over Accidents

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“Every two weeks a child dies when a piece of furniture or a television falls on them,” says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Little kids have always been able to find a way of reaching their favorite toy. Unfortunately, their climbing abilities can be deadly; un-anchored furniture can easily tip over. The CPSC estimates that more than 43,000 consumers are injured each year in tip-over incidents. Children involved in tip-over accidents often sustain severe head and other as a result of being crushed or trapped under the item.

The 2011 death of a two-year-old Chicago boy spurred a recall of the Natart Chelsea 3 drawer dresser. According to reports, the toddler apparently tried to climb an open lower drawer causing the dresser to tip over. The child suffered head trauma and died because the pressure of the dresser caused the trapped child to suffocate.

His mother fought successfully to have the dresser model recalled and is now seeking damages to cover funeral expenses, as well as non-economic damages. The lawsuit against the manufacturer, Gemme Juvenile, Inc., alleges that the company did not provide warnings or instructions to help prevent the tip-over. Furthermore, the suit contends that the child’s dresser should have had an “anchoring strap” in place, or some other system that would ensure that the dresser wouldn’t tip over. The lawsuit also names the now dissolved local distributor, FurnitureKidz, Inc. and its former owners.

Approximately 300 of the dressers have been recalled since this fatality. The recall notice states, “When the dresser drawers are pulled all the way out and then the additional weight of a young child is applied, the dresser's center of gravity can be altered and result in instability of the product [the dresser] and consequently tip over."

Gemme Juvenile, Inc. is now supplying owners of the dressers with a retrofit kit to secure the furniture to a wall. The recalled dressers were sold at Furniture Kidz and juvenile specialty stores and online at Baby.com from January 2005 to December 2010. Owners of these dressers should immediately stop using and place the dresser out of a child’s reach. Free retrofit kits that contain wall anchor straps are being offered to consumers to help prevent the dresser from tipping. The kits can be ordered by visiting www.chelseawallanchors.com, www.NatartJuvenile.com, emailing the firm at safety@chelseawallanchors.com or calling toll-free at (855) 364-2619 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

The CPSC recommends the following safety tips to help prevent tip-over accidents. They take little time and can save lives.

  • Anchor furniture to the wall or floor.
  • Place TV's on sturdy low bases or anchor the furniture and the TV on top of it, and push the TV as far back as possible.
  • Keep remote controls and other attractive items off the TV stand so kids won't be tempted to grab for them and risk knocking over the TV.
  • Keep TV and cable cords out of reach of children.
  • Make sure free-standing ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.
  • Supervise children in rooms where these safety tips have not been followed.

Even the most vigilant parent can’t keep watch their kids 24/7, but following these tips can help keep kids safe and reduce the possibility of a tip-over accident. Manufacturers can help, too by stepping up the safety of the products put on the market.

Should manufacturers discover potential consequences before putting products on the market? Have some become lax in product safety and testing? According to the CPSC, the Natart Chelsea 3 drawer dresser was manufactured before a May 2009 voluntary industry standard was issued requiring that tip-over restraints be sold with the dressers. Why didn’t Gemme recall the dresser when the voluntary industry standard changed?

Mark Bello has thirty-six years experience as a trial lawyer and fourteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice, Public Citizen, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.