Stakeholders applaud CPSC vote to accept ASTM F2057-23 as new furniture stability standard

Supporters include those who worked diligently on compromise that resulted in the passage of STURDY Act

HIGH POINT — Various stakeholders applauded this week’s 3-1 vote by the CPSC to accept an industry-supported ASTM F2057 as the updated stability standard for clothing storage units associated with tip-overs known to injure and kill children.

The sole dissenting vote was by Richard Trumka, who gave nearly an hour’s worth of in-depth testimony on why the commission should accept a CPSC standard approved in November versus the updated ASTM F2057-23. Toward the end of the meeting, he also introduced several motions and amendments that would have defeated or delayed action on the updated standard which the industry and parent groups determined met the requirements of the STURDY (Stop Tip-Overs of Risky Dressers on Youth) Act signed into law in December.

As the CPSC staff also found that the updated ASTM F2057 met the requirements of STURDY, the other three commissioners — Peter A. Feldman, Mary T. Boyle and Alexander D. Hoehn-Saric accepted it as the mandatory standard.

Various groups who were involved in the compromise that ultimately resulted in STURDY being signed into law immediately applauded the 3-1 vote. They included child advocacy groups made up of parents whose children have been killed or injured by tip-over incidents.

According to a statement sent out by Kids In Danger after Wednesday morning’s vote, on average six children are sent to the emergency department every day because of a furniture tip-over incident and one child dies every two weeks from a furniture tip-over or a tip-over involving TVs, which are implicated in most incidents. The group said that the previous standard, ASTM F2057-19, was not robust enough to prevent these incidents.

But the group and others believe the new standard will go a long way to improving the safety and stability of clothing storage units.

“For too long, too many children have died from the preventable hazard of unstable furniture, especially dressers,” said Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger. “This new mandatory standard, developed through collaboration of all stakeholders and led by the grit and determination of parents who have already lost children, made this happen and we are eager to see the new stable furniture for sale and in our homes.”  

Others agreed with her assessment, having also been involved in the negotiations that led to the ultimate passage of STURDY.

“No family should have to experience the injury or death of a child because of furniture tip-overs,” said Courtney Griffin, director of consumer product safety at the Consumer Federation of America. “This long overdue mandatory standard addresses preventable, real-world risks. It will save lives and protect children from furniture tip-overs.”

Among the testing methods and requirements of the new mandatory standard are:

+ Testing that simulates the weight of children up to 60 pounds.

+ Testing that accounts for the impacts of clothing storage unit stability that could result from multiple drawers open at once and the placement of units on carpeted surfaces.

+ The impact of dynamic force that simulates a child playing on or climbing upon a chest, dresser or nightstand.

+ Testing of units that are 27 inches and above in height.

+ The placement of labels that educate parents and other family members about the dangers of tip-overs.

The standard also applies to units that are more than 30 pounds and have 3.2 cubic feet of enclosed storage volume.

“Parents Against Tip-overs is thrilled with the CPSC’s approval of the much-improved stability standard ASTM F2057-23 as the mandatory rule, per the direction of the STURDY Act,” said Brett Horn, chairman of PAT. “A strong mandatory standard has been the individual and shared goal of all PAT parents for 20 years. Our kids’ deaths are the ‘data’ justifying the need for change, our parents’ testimonies were the catalyst for the CPSC’s rule, our push for compromise was instrumental in the lifesaving improvements to the voluntary standard, and our passion for a solution was the driving force behind the passage of the STURDY Act. Our hope is the result will be the protection of children from the horrible accidents which took our children’s lives.”

Industry officials interviewed by Home News Now also were pleased with the commissioner vote. While they say the updated ASTM standard testing methods are not easy to pass and will still require significant alterations to the product to make units compliant, they prefer it over the CPSC standard that was originally due to take effect May 24 for goods shipped after that date. For one, ASTM is a pass-fail test versus the CPSC standard which would identify goods as more or less stable based on a complex formula involving a tip-over moment. This testing methodology has been described by those struggling with the issue in recent months as ambiguous in that it was prone to producing inconsistent results, even for the same piece of furniture.

They also believe the ASTM standard will require roughly half the additional weight needed to achieve a minimum of one on a one-to-two scale for the CPSC standard. This in turn could help alleviate — although not eliminate entirely — concerns about injuries to those moving furniture into people’s homes.

With the April High Point Market starting this weekend, the new standard also could result in differences in pricing. Some have said they don’t expect to pass along any increase, while others were still trying to determine the impact on pricing with market just days away.

Yet as expected, industry groups also applauded the CPSC vote.

“Thanks to the combined efforts of manufacturers, through our colleagues at the American Home Furnishings Alliance, and retailers through the Home Furnishings Association, the CPSC will finally focus on adhering to the STURDY Act (now law) and put in place sensible stronger standards for clothing storage units,” said Mark Schumacher, chief executive officer of the HFA. “That law, backed by our industry, parent and consumer groups, testing labs, and a huge bipartisan majority of House and Senate members will achieve the goal of preventing tip-over injury and death. Child safety wins.”

He added that a concerted effort by the industry, including HFA members, to reach out to their congressional delegations and spell out the real impacts of the CPSC’s efforts, made a huge difference in the outcome.

“That context and clarity moved key members of Congress to insist the CPSC do their job and adhere to the new law,” he added. “Parent groups weighed in as well and supported these efforts.”

“Make no mistake, by year’s end there will be new standards in place and there will be changes to many clothing storage units,” he wrote to membership on Wednesday. “The difference is that STURDY is reasonable when it comes to implementation and what you can do with your existing inventory. Let’s not lose sight of the fact, however, that this is at its core a child safety issue, and this is a win for your customers and their children.”

The American Home Furnishings Alliance, which also was instrumental in bringing industry and parent groups together to help achieve the STURDY compromise, also applauded the commissioners’ vote.

“Today’s CPSC action is welcome news for industry, safety advocates, consumers, parents and children,” said Andy Counts, chief executive officer of the AHFA. “And we join with all of these stakeholders in thanking the CPSC for acknowledging and validating the hard work and extraordinary collaborative that made today’s action possible.”

The AHFA said this week that rule will take effect 120 days after its publication in the Federal Register unless it receives an adverse comment in the first 30 days of that period. AHFA said it also has learned that the publication in the Federal Register could take several weeks, which it said points to an early to mid-September implementation date.

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.

View all posts by Thomas Russell →

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