Sometimes the most innocuous and innocent-looking products can prove deadly. Such is the case with the South Shore Libra 3-drawer dresser (sold at Target as the Simply Basics 3 Drawer Dresser), which was the focus of a recall issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) yesterday. The recalled dressers are “unstable if not anchored to the wall, posing serious tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in death or injuries to children,” according to the CPSC. The bulk of the dressers—310,000—were sold in the United States; the rest were sold in Mexico and Canada, where Health Canada issued a separate recall.
The dresser in question was sold by Walmart, Amazon, and Target. It measures 27.5 inches high by 31.25 inches wide by 15.5. inches deep. It weighs from 52 to 56 pounds and was available in several finishes. Click here for a complete list of model numbers affected.
It seems this recall should have happened sooner. In 2018, Consumer Reports notified South shore that the dresser failed its tip-over tests. The company responded that its dresser was “not subject to the voluntary stability standard because it only applied to dressers greater than 30 inches in height.” Consumer Reports identified a 2-year-old girl who was killed in 2017 when this Libra dresser fell on her. According to a CPSC report, parents walked out of the room for a short period when they heard something fall. Upon returning to the room, the dresser was on top of the child, and she was dead. The report notes that asphyxiation was the cause of death.
The CPSC first knew about this incident in early 2018. South Shore says that it was not informed of the death of the child until July of 2018. However, it did not issue a recall for another nine months—and only a day before a scheduled furniture safety meeting with ASTM International, the group that sets voluntary standards for a host of products. This meeting may lead to stronger measures for products like this dresser to include the existing tip-over standard to dressers as short as 27 inches.
Consumers who own this chest are urged to stop using it immediately if it is not properly anchored to the wall. They can then choose whether to get a refund on the chest or request a free tip-over restraint kit. South Shore will arrange for pick up of the chest, or consumers can choose to mail the drawer glides in and dispose of the chest themselves.
Despite laws that are in place to protect the public from faulty products, the red tape leading up to a recall can sometimes cause its delay, jeopardizing consumers’ lives. If you or someone you love has been injured by a dangerous product, reach out to JML Law and our Los Angeles product liability attorney at 818-610-8800 to discuss your case. We will help you face down the at-fault party and get the compensation you deserve.