New furniture law helps prevent deadly tip-overs but experts say parents still need to take precautions

Posted at 2:36 PM, Sep 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-14 15:36:10-04

MILWAUKEE — New furniture safety requirements recently took effect that will hopefully save a child’s life. For one mother, this measure was 18 years in the making after her daughter was killed by a furniture tip-over. But this mom and experts warn there are still precautions parents need to take.

It was just days before Christmas in 2004 when Kimberly Amato lost her 3-year-old daughter Megan.

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Meghan Beck, the daughter Kimberly Amato, died when a dresser fell over on her just before Christmas in 2004.

"We woke to find Megan lifeless underneath her dresser. We're not sure exactly what happened, but we believe she had been playing in her room sometime in the very early morning hours, probably climbing on the drawers, and it fell on her,” said Kimberly.

After Megan's death, Kimberly became an advocate. She spoke to lawmakers, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and even started two non-profits, Meghan’s Hope and Parents Against Tip-Overs, to try to get the word out about the dangers of furniture tip-overs and get the laws changed.

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Dresser with Meghan's photo

"At the time of Meghan's accident, I really thought she was the only one that this ever happened to. My goal was to prevent it from happening to anyone else, and I thought it was going to be really simple to do. It turned out it wasn't. It's taken over 18 years to get where we are today,” said Kimberly.

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Kimberly Amato standing in front of the U.S. Capitol with the signed STUDY Act.

Where we are today is a new law. It is called the Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act known as the STURDY Act. Congress passed it in December of 2022. Early this month, on September 1, 2023, furniture manufacturers and retailers had to start complying with the safety requirements.

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Kimberly Amato has shared the story of her 3-year-old daughter Meghan's death for years, in hopes of saving other children.

Now, clothing storage units like dressers, must meet the stability standards and include kits to anchor the furniture. But it is important to note stores are still allowed to sell furniture manufactured before the law change. That’s why Nancy Cowles, the executive director of the Chicago non-profit Kids in Danger says you should assume all your furniture is a tip-over risk.

"The rule is to anchor everything. Simply because, you know, a child climbing if they get up to the second or third drawer. They're putting a lot of again that dynamic force on it,” said Cowles.

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Nancy Cowles, the executive director of the non-profit, Kids in Danger, says you should assume all your furniture is a tip-over risk. She also says if you are buying new furniture ask the retailer if it meets the new safety requirements (ASTM F2057-23) under the STURDY Act.

TMJ4 News went to Village Ace Hardware in Glendale and found furniture anchoring kits sell for around $10.

"It is pretty easy to do,” said David Meinecke, store manager. "I would argue you probably hang up pictures somewhere in your house these would be similar holes to what you are using to hang up pictures of your loved ones."

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At least 234 children have died from furniture tip-overs between 2000 to April 2022, according to the CPSC. On average, 5,300 children a year end up in the emergency room from furniture tip-overs. Something Kimberly hopes the new law will change.

David Meinecke, store manager at Village Ace Hardware in Glendale and grabs a furniture anchoring kit from the shelf.

"It now has very stringent tests that address the way children interact with and use dressers, and we think that it would have saved our children, and we believe it will protect yours,” said Kimberly.

Again, the law is only in effect for clothing storage made after September 1. So Kids in Danger says if you are buying new furniture ask the retailer if it meets the new safety requirements (ASTM F2057-23) under the STURDY Act. Also, anchor all furniture, even if it does not come with a kit. You can find more information about how to do it from