HIGH POINT, NC – The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) will hold a furniture safety meeting in August to discuss technical issues related to preventing furniture and television tip-over accidents.

Commissioners and technical staff from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have been invited to participate, along with the ASTM Subcommittee on Furniture Safety, which is responsible for the current voluntary tip-over prevention standard for clothing storage units.

Additional invited guests will include safety executives from the consumer electronics industry and tip restraint manufacturers.

“CPSC officials will discuss a recently-completed study of tip restraints – which will be of particular interest to home furnishings manufacturers in light of a recent recall of furniture due to the reported failure of the anti-tip devices,” says AHFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Bill Perdue, who chairs the ASTM Subcommittee on Furniture Safety.

The 30-page CPSC study released in May evaluates television and furniture anchoring solutions that can be installed either without tools or with minimal consumer effort.

The safety meeting will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, August 11, at Samson Marketing, 2575 Penny Road, High Point. The date is tentative, pending confirmation from CPSC officials. Seating is limited, therefore registration initially will be available only to members of the ASTM Subcommittee on Furniture Safety and AHFA member companies. After July 31, registration for remaining seats will be open to the industry.

Registration is available online here. The cost for ASTM subcommittee members and AHFA members is $25 and includes lunch. The cost for non-members will be $50.

Should AHFA need to change the date to accommodate the regulatory officials, any registrants who are unable to attend on the new date will receive a full refund.

According to CPSC data, TV and furniture tip-over accidents have failed to decline in recent years, now killing a child every two weeks, on average, and sending 38,000 Americans, mostly children, to emergency rooms.

As a result, the CPSC has made furniture and television tip-over prevention a priority for 2015, having allocated $400,000 for a national public awareness campaign that launched on June 4. The “Anchor It” campaign is designed to communicate the dangers of tip-over accidents and how easy it is to properly anchor TVs and furniture.

Along with a new website, www.anchorit.gov, the campaign includes a video public service announcement that spotlights the natural propensity of young children to be accident-prone. Simple solutions – including anchoring TVs and furniture – are demonstrated in the video.

The website also has downloadable cards and posters providing tips for making homes safer. These materials advise parents and caregivers to:

• buy and install low-cost anchoring devices for TVs and furniture;
• avoid leaving items, such as remote controls and toys, in places that might tempt kids to climb;
• store heavier items on lower shelves or in lower drawers;
• place TVs on low, sturdy bases and anchor them to the wall or furniture, if possible;
• if purchasing a new TV, consider recycling the older one; and,
• if moving an older TV to another room, make sure it is anchored to the wall in the new location.

HGTV star Tiffany Brooks, an interior designer, wife, mother and HGTV host, is the “Anchor It!” campaign spokesperson, along with CPSC Commissioners Marietta Robinson and Joseph Mohorovic.

Robinson addressed AHFA’s Board of Directors at a May meeting in Washington, D.C. According to AHFA CEO Andy Counts, Robinson told the group she does not think the current ASTM voluntary tip-over standard goes far enough. The standard was first adopted in 2000 and was updated in 2004, 2009 and again in 2014. It requires all clothing storage units 30 inches in height or taller to pass a tip-over test and to be shipped with a tip-over warning label, tip restraints and clear directions for installing those restraints.

“Robinson said she is looking to CPSC engineers, as well as to furniture manufacturers, to come up with ‘creative approaches’ to improving the standard, such as requiring easier-to-install anchoring devices or engineering new drawer locking systems that would prevent more than one drawer from being opened at a time – similar to the safety locking system of an office file cabinet,” Counts said.

Both Robinson and Mohorovic are expected to attend the August furniture safety meeting. Mohorovic also is keynoting an AHFA regulatory meeting slated October 1 in Hickory, N.C. Registration for this event, which is open to the industry, also is available here.

In addition to providing forums for Robinson and Mohorovic to address the residential furniture industry, AHFA has been supporting the CPSC “Anchor It!” campaign through its own social media channels and safety press releases. A January press release titled “Three Steps to TV and Furniture Safety” coincided with National TV Safety Day and included photos illustrating three easy steps for installing a tip restraint.

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