Trenton, NJ – Concerned about the increasing number of children across the nation being injured by falling furniture and televisions, lawmakers in New Jersey want manufacturers to do more to help prevent such tip-over accidents.
The Assembly has given its approval to a measure that requires manufacturers to provide consumers with written notice about devices that can anchor, stabilize or prevent tip-overs and injury, disability or death — particularly with respect to young children. Consumers would be provided with the information when they buy or rent such products.
Known as “Chloe and Samantha’s Law,” in honor of two girls — ages 18 months and 3 years old — who were killed when large televisions tipped onto them in separate incidents. The measure passed the Assembly in June and now awaits action in the Senate’s Commerce Committee.
The proposed rules would apply to dressers, bookcases, bureaus, armoires or similar furniture that is 42 inches or more in height and designed to store, display, or otherwise place items; televisions with display screens that are 25 inches or more; and all television stands.
A recent study by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, found childhood injuries from falling furniture and appliances in recent years were up more than 40 percent from levels in the early 1990s. They based their conclusions on government data collected from emergency rooms across the country between 1990 and 2007.
“Losing a child because a household item tipped onto them is unimaginable,” said Assemblyman Matthew W. Milam, D-Cape May Court House, who sponsored the legislation along with colleagues Nelson T. Albano, D-Cape May Court House, and Ruben J. Ramos Jr., D-Hoboken.
“All we’re trying to do here is improve retailer responsibility and consumer knowledge to make sure we do everything we can to protect our children,” Milam said.
If the measure becomes law, it would impose $250 fines for first violations and not more than $500 for each subsequent violation.
“We’re not trying to regulate furniture and televisions,” Ramos said. “Rather, we’re making sure consumers are aware of the dangers associated with some households.”