Parent, consumer safety groups applaud Senate passage of STURDY Act

Stakeholders believe Senate version of bill contains reasonable, yet effective methods to reduce tip-overs of clothing storage units

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Concerned parents and child safety advocacy groups applauded last week’s Senate passage of a bill that aims to reduce tip-over incidents with what proponents believe are reasonable, yet effective testing methods to ensure the stability of clothing storage units.

“We are thrilled with the passage of the STURDY Act in the Senate,” Brett Horn, chairman of Parents Against Tip-Overs, told Home News Now. “Obviously, it still has to go back to the House, but we have long advocated for a standard that is strong, mandatory and timely to prevent tip-over accidents. And once it is signed into law, we believe that STURDY will accomplish that.”

Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger, said that due to the efforts of Parents Against Tip-Overs, various groups worked together to help create an effective legislative solution

“The STURDY Act will lead to a strong mandatory standard that protects children from tipping furniture,” she said. “We applaud the Senate for unanimous passage and urge the House, which already passed an earlier version of the bill, to adopt the amended version. We are so grateful for the parents of Parents Against Tip-Overs who have worked tirelessly to make this happen to protect children from the fate of their own children.”

Rachel Weintraub, legislative director and general counsel of the Consumer Federation of America, also applauded the Senate’s passage of STURDY, noting that it puts “children and consumer safety first.”

“This legislation will require strong standards to prevent furniture tip-overs and the tragedies tip-overs cause,” she told Home News Now. “The House of Representatives passed a previous version of the bill and we urge the House to pass the Senate bill as soon as possible.”

The STURDY (Stop Tipovers of Unstable Risky Dressers on Youth) Act (S.3232) applies to clothing storage units 27 inches and higher.

It aims to protect children up to six years old and up to 60 pounds from tip-over related incidents by establishing a series of repeatable tests that simulate real world use. This includes the placement of the units on carpeted surfaces, testing with items in the drawers and multiple drawers open and testing with dynamic force to simulate a child climbing on the unit.

The American Home Furnishings Alliance, which also has long been involved in the legislative process, said bill differs from the original House version passed in June 2021 that would have allowed the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to use a fast-track process to implement a mandatory standard.

Many also were concerned that this would have relied on a proposed furniture stability rule the CPSC released last year that could be implemented with little input from stakeholders including the industry and the families of victims of tip-over incidents.

The AHFA said the bill advanced to the Commerce Committee in May. AHFA negotiated with majority and minority Commerce Committee staff, child safety and consumer advocates, furniture manufacturers  and retailers and medical groups to come up with an amended bill that addressed the concerns of all involved. That bill advanced to the Senate last month.

AHFA also spearheaded the necessary updates to F-2057 that have since been approved by the ASTM Furniture Safety Subcommittee. These updates have created new testing standards that mirror those in the STURDY Act.

The amended Senate version of the bill will direct CPSC to adopt an updated version of F-2057 that incorporates the testing methodologies of STURDY. AHFA said these are expected to be published once the Senate and House versions are reconciled and the bill is signed by President Joseph Biden.

Once signed into law, the CPSC has up to 180 days to make this standard the mandatory federal stability standard for clothing storage units.

The bill also allows the opportunity for manufacturers to petition the CPSC for alternative testing to allow for innovative safety technologies that would result in more stable clothing storage units.

Horn, who has advocated for a mandatory safety standard since the death of his son, Charlie, in a tip-over incident 15 years ago, said the problem of unsafe clothing storage units has gone on too long.

“And as a result of the furniture industry not properly addressing it, nor the CPSC properly addressing it, we began investigating legislative fixes. And I quickly learned that we had to do more than share our story — we had to focus on a solution, because otherwise we would have been just as guilty in those delays as the other entities have,” Horn said. “So again we had to do more than share our stories and we had to begin focusing on a solution which meant compromise with industry. We do feel that this is significant progress and one that we had to collaborate on and pull industry and consumer groups along with us to find a middle ground. We feel that we effectively did that.”

He said while there are some significant differences between the House and Senate versions of STURDY, he expects the House to “follow the guide of the amended version passed by the Senate and compromised on between industry and parents.”

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

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