Consumer, child safety groups encourage compliance with new mandatory tip-over standard

Letter issued this week reminds industry that mandatory tip-over rule takes effect Sept. 1 for clothing storage units made on or after that date

WASHINGTON — Consumer groups issued a letter to furniture manufacturers, retailers, trade associations and online retailers this week reminding the industry and other interested stakeholders that the effective date for the STURDY Act is now less than a month away.

The Aug. 1 letter references the Sept. 1 date that STURDY (Stop Tip-Overs of Risky Dressers on Youth) takes effect, applying to clothing storage units manufactured on or after that date. It was signed by Consumer Reports, Parents Against Tip-Overs, Kids in Danger and the Consumer Federation of America.

STURDY was signed into law by President Biden late last year as part of an effort to reduce tip-overs of clothing storage units. Citing data from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, the letter states that at least 234 people have died because of clothing storage unit tip-over incidents from January 2000 to April 2022. It also notes that about 5,300 people are sent to emergency rooms each year with injuries resulting from such incidents.

The letter reminds the industry that starting on Sept. 1, federal law requires that anyone who sells, offers for sale, manufactures, distributes or imports clothing storage units comply with the testing methods in ASTM F2057-23. The safety standard was updated and published in early February to meet the requirements of the STURDY Act.

The letter goes on to note that the mandatory standard will help protect children by requiring “strong and practicable stability tests and requirements based on real-world use.”

Failing to comply, the letter states, would not only put children at risk of serious injury or death. It also could expose companies to fines of up to $120,000 per violation and more than $17 million for any related series of violations, along with possible criminal penalties.

“We strongly urge all retailers and the furniture industry to prioritize children’s safety and ensure you are prepared to comply with the requirements of ASTM F2057-23 as soon as possible,” the letter states, later adding, “Compliance with these requirements will help save countless children’s lives, so our groups are requesting that the CPSC take decisive and urgent enforcement action starting Sept. 1 against any company that violates the law. We will also monitor compliance with the new rules and support the CPSC in holding accountable anyone who fails to prioritize safety. With one month remaining to prepare, now is the time to come into compliance. Otherwise, unstable dressers may continue to put children’s lives at risk.”

Representatives of each of the groups had these additional comments regarding the implementation of STURDY:

+ “Congress passed a bill, the president signed it, and now companies need to follow the law. Children’s lives depend on it,” said Gabe Knight, safety policy advocate for Consumer Reports. “It is imperative for all manufacturers and retailers to immediately comply with the federal standards to prevent furniture tip-overs.”

+ “The ASTM standard was developed in conjunction with the furniture industry, consumer groups and the CPSC,” said Brett Horn, chairman of Parents Against Tip-Overs. “Now we are reliant upon immediate compliance from retailers and manufacturers to accomplish our shared goal of protecting children from these terrible tip-over incidents.”

+ “To protect children, manufacturers and retailers must ensure that only compliant furniture is sold immediately,” said Courtney Griffin, director of consumer product safety at Consumer Federation of America. “For too long, children and families paid the price for the industry’s inaction. Companies must act now.”  

+ “Furniture makers and retailers have had sufficient warning that the new standard to prevent tip-overs was coming — they helped develop it,” said Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger. “There is no excuse for manufacturers and retailers to continue selling unstable, non-compliant dressers after the government’s Sept. 1 effective date. We already have too many hazardous dressers in our homes — it’s time to get them off our store shelves and online sites.”

The groups also noted that consumers should also be aware that non-compliant furniture manufactured before Sept. 1 will remain available for purchase. They advise consumers to ask sellers whether the units they plan to purchase meet the requirements of ASTM F2057-23.

They also urge retailers to stop selling non-compliant furniture and be prepared to educate consumers on which products meet the new requirements. The groups also say that retailers should encourage consumers to anchor units to the wall to further protect their children from tip-over incidents — especially with chests, dressers and other clothing storage units that were made before Sept. 1.

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 →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our Newsletter for breaking news, special features and early access to all the industry stories that matter!

Sponsored By: