(CBS Newspath) — A new law that takes effect Friday (9/1) aims to prevent dressers and other pieces of furniture from tipping over – a serious hazard in the home, especially for young children.
Kimberly Amato knows that unstable furniture can be deadly for children.
“I lost my beautiful little girl, Meggie, on December 18th, in 2004. We got up in the morning and found her lifeless beneath her dresser.”
Since then, Amato has been fighting for federal safety standards for furniture. At least 200 other children have died in tip-over accidents in the last 23 years, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
WHAT CHANGES UNDER THE NEW LAW
Under the Sturdy Act, furniture manufacturers will have to test dressers on carpeting, with loaded drawers, and with the real physics of a 60-pound child climbing the unit.
“A child doesn’t carefully open a drawer and step gently onto it. They’re often pulling them out, jumping onto it, so the new test takes into account that dynamic force,” Nancy Cowles, of the advocacy group Kids In Danger said.
For years, stability testing in the furniture industry was voluntary.
WHAT’S NOT COVERED
The new law only applies to dressers and clothing storage units manufactured starting September 1st. It doesn’t cover furniture already on the market, or dressers still for sale in stores.
Safety experts say consumers need to ask retailers if a dresser meets the new standards. Amato has a warning for parents with older dressers.
“It is so, so important that parents understand there is a vital need to anchor all furniture,” she said.