New STURDY Act aims to change statistics of deadly furniture tip-overs

We’ve talked so much on News4JAX over the years about a particular danger for children inside many homes: furniture that tips over. The good news is a new law promises important changes to make kids safer.

Washington D.C. firefighter Daniel Brong will never forget the morning of Dec. 30 when he and his 2-year-old daughter Zoey were tidying up her room. The unthinkable happened.

“Zoey started opening up the drawers. When she had opened two of those little drawers on the top, the dresser came down right on her foot, and I was like ‘oh no!’” Brong explained.

The dresser crushed two of Zoey’s toes, nearly severing them. Doctors were able to reattach her toes, and within a few weeks, she healed in a cast. The best news: Zoey is now on her way to a full recovery.

The danger isn’t new. Over the past two decades, hundreds of young children have died and thousands have been injured from falling furniture or televisions. Consumer Reports says a majority of tip-over deaths involve children under the age of 6.

But those grim statistics could soon be changing thanks to a new law called the STURDY Act. It requires all dressers and similar products made or sold in the U.S., including those under 30 inches tall, to meet minimum safety standards regarding sturdiness and strength testing.

The STURDY Act was years in the making, with consumer groups and parents pressing hard for its passage.

“Fifteen years since I lost my son Charlie to a tip over and this problem has gone on way too long, and I think we’ve really established a law here that’s going to protect children for many, many years going forward,” said Brett Horn.

Consumer Reports advocated for the new law. But it reminds parents that even with these new protections, it’s still strongly recommended that all furniture be properly anchored to walls, no matter the height, weight and manufacturing date.

If you’re not sure how to anchor furniture, watch this video from Consumer Reports with a step-by-guide on how to do it.

The STURDY Act was signed into law in December as part of the large spending bill. The Consumer Product Safety Commission now has until the end of 2023 to finalize the rule for U.S. manufacturers to follow.