April 2, 2019 – HIGH POINT, N.C. – Over the last 10 years, an average of three children under age six have died each year when a chest or dresser tumbled over on top of them. Furniture that is engineered for greater stability can help prevent tip-over accidents, but identifying these safer products is not always easy for parents.
A new “Stability Verified” program developed by UL in partnership with the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) aims to change that, and eight exhibitors at this week’s High Point Market are showing products that will carry the Stability Verified mark.
“ASTM International, an international standards organization, has had a voluntary standard for furniture stability since 2000,” says Andy Counts, CEO of the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA). “But parents who are shopping for bedroom furniture can’t easily distinguish between chests and dressers that have been designed and tested to this stability standard and those that have not.”
To help consumers make this distinction, UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a global safety science company, partnered with AHFA to create the Stability Verified program. Online and in stores, the UL Stability Verified Mark means a piece of furniture has met the stability requirements within the current voluntary standard, ASTM F2057-17.
“Ten AHFA member companies have led the way, and hundreds of ‘Stability Verified’ products already are available in the marketplace,” Counts says. Participating manufacturers include Ashley Furniture, Hooker Furniture, Sauder Woodworking, Universal Furniture, Vaughan-Bassett, La-Z-Boy Casegoods, A.R.T. Furniture, South Shore Industries, Delta Children and Klaussner Furniture.
It is estimated that about 68 children age five and under head to the emergency room every week with an injury caused by a chest or dresser that tipped over on them – usually when the child was attempting to climb it. Although more than 90 percent of these injuries are not serious, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that three children under age six die each year from this type of accident. The number of annual fatalities doubles when furniture accidents involving televisions are taken into account.
Choosing the right furniture, placing TVs only on furniture designed to accommodate the extra weight, and using furniture tip restraints are three key steps to help prevent furniture tip-over incidents.
In households with small children, parents and caregivers should always choose clothing storage furniture that meets the ASTM stability standard. This standard requires manufacturers to engineer chests and dressers so they remain stable when a drawer is opened and a 50-pound weight is applied to the front edge of that drawer. This test is meant to simulate the “pull” of an average five-year-old child, and it must be repeated for each drawer or door in the piece.
Companies that comply with the ASTM stability standard are designated throughout the High Point Market with “WE COMPLY” tent cards in their showrooms.
The UL Stability Verified program provides a scientific, third-party confirmation that a company has the equipment, personnel and procedures in place to accurately conduct stability testing. Then, UL reviews all product test data and establishes that the furniture is eligible to carry the “Product Stability Verified” mark. All critical design components for the covered products are documented, and UL repeats stability testing on sample units at the factory to confirm ongoing compliance.
The mark consists of the words “PRODUCT STABILITY VERIFIED” along with the UL logo, a unique identification number assigned to the participating company, and the UL Verify web address, https://verify.ul.com. The mark may be found on a hangtag, on packaging or on a label adhered to the product itself. Consumers can search the UL Verify website by manufacturer name or by the manufacturer’s identification number to confirm that a product meets the stability requirements of the safety standard.
AHFA is an education and advocacy organization for the home furnishings industry. It promotes compliance with the ASTM stability standard and works with furniture manufacturers, child safety advocates and the CPSC to keep the standard up-to-date.
Choosing a Stability Verified chest or dresser for a child’s room is one safety step, but most homes contain furniture of various ages and quality levels. AHFA recommends using furniture tip restraints – which are easily found in stores that carry other childproofing products – to anchor all clothing storage furniture, as well as any other pieces that might tip if pulled on or climbed on by a curious toddler.
What Can Parents Do?
The American Home Furnishings Alliance recommends parents and caregivers follow these measures to help prevent tip-over accidents involving small children:
✓ Don’t wait until your toddler is climbing to secure furniture throughout your home! Install furniture tip-restraints at the same time you cover outlets and safeguard cabinets.
✓ Always place the heaviest items in the lowest drawers of dressers and chests.
✓ Do not place TVs on furniture that is not specifically designed to hold electronics. Chests and bookcases pose significant hazards when misused in this way.
✓ Never open more than one drawer at a time. Install stops on drawers (if the furniture doesn’t already have them) to prevent them from being pulled out all the way.
✓ Don’t create a temptation to climb! Keep remote controls, toys and any other enticing items off the top of furniture where children can see but not reach them.
✓ Always place TVs on sturdy, low bases. Always anchor furniture and TVs throughout your home.
✓ When buying new furniture, look for the “Stability Verified” mark or other verification that the furniture complies with the voluntary stability standard, ASTM F2057-17.
Contact: Patricia Bowling, 336/881-1006