According to a seventeen-year study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, 14,000 Americans, on average under age 17, visit the emergency room annually due to injuries from household furniture. About 300 of these accidents result in death. However, these statistics only include injured children who actually sought medical treatment, so there is a good chance that the actual numbers are higher than the study shows.
The study looked at injuries that involved 12 furniture types, including dressers, desks, and television sets. Most of the injuries that were a part of the study involved children aged 6 and younger. The most common piece of furniture falling over on a child was a television set. The most serious injuries, mostly to the neck and head, involved children 1 to 3 years of age. The older the child, the more likely that the injury was to the lower body.
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The primary cause of these injuries is furniture, electronics like TV sets, and appliances, all of which can be manufactured in such a way that they are not balanced, and can easily tip over onto a child. In fact, about a quarter of the injuries in the study came from furniture tipping over onto a child who was climbing on it.
There are simply no official safety standards in place in this country that pertain to ordinary, everyday furniture. There are a set of voluntary standards published by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), recently revised, to try to prevent furniture from tipping over. But according to the Consumers Union, it is easy to find “furniture on the market that doesn’t comply with the standard.” Moreover, the Consumer’s Union “found furniture from major manufacturers that is still dangerously tippy notwithstanding its compliance with the standard.”
The new standard, released in May 2009, asks for tip-restraint units and warning labels. While only voluntary, these standards show that furniture manufacturers are very aware of the potential danger in furniture that can tip over and injure children.
Cribs, bassinets and other sleeping spaces can present extreme health hazards to your children. Since 2007, manufacturers have recalled more than 11 million drop-side cribs and numerous bassinets and play yards due to suffocation, strangulation and other injury threats posed by faulty manufacturing and design of the products, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The CPSC has determined that drop-side cribs are less structurally sound than cribs with four fixed sides, and their hardware is prone to break, deform or experience other problems during normal use. Drop-side cribs are so dangerous, in fact, that in June of 2011, the CPSC banned the manufacture, sale and resale of all drop-side cribs entirely. Also in 2011, the CPSC enhanced safety standards for the design and manufacture of cribs. However, millions of cribs dangerous to babies and toddlers are still in use in American homes.
If your child has been injured by a piece of household furniture or a TV tipping over, you may be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer. Our law firm is highly experienced in this area of law and would be glad to assist you.
The Gilbert Law Group® represents families nationwide in child fatality cases resulting from dangerous products and conditions, and in cases where children have experienced serious bodily injuries, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injuries from unsafe toys.
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