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Dressers, TV, other furniture could tip and injure consumers

North Carolina parents who are buying a television or dresser might want to make sure it does not present a danger of tipping. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, these are particularly dangerous to children who might climb the furniture and pull it over on themselves although they can injure adults as well. More than 500 people died between 2000 and 2016 because of tip-overs, and most of them were children. More than 30,000 people are treated in emergency rooms annually because of appliance, furniture and television falls.

Items can be secured for greater safety. In bedrooms that have sheetrock walls, the studs can be located and furniture secured against it. Professionals may need to be called in if the walls are made of brick or other material that cannot be easily drilled into.

Adherence to safety standards set by ASTM International is voluntary. Eight children died when IKEA furniture fell on them, so the company recalled dressers and chests of drawers that did not meet those standards. The American Home Furnishings Alliance recommends not buying furniture that does not say it adheres to these standards. The standards require that the furniture be stable when doors or drawers are opened to a certain degree or when a toddler's weight is applied to a drawer. It must also have anti-tip restraints.

If a company manufactures or sells a product that kills or injures someone, it could face a products liability lawsuit. Injured people or family members might file a lawsuit asking for compensation for medical costs and other expenses. One factor in determining liability is whether the company was negligent in creating and selling a dangerous product or in failing to specifically address its dangers in a warning label.

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