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Dangers of falling furniture

It has been reported that a child dies due to a furniture accident in the U.S. on the average of every two weeks. In a Pennsylvania town, two toddlers were killed on July 4 after a dresser fell on them while they were climbing on its shelves. They accidentally pulled the dresser on them, and an autopsy revealed that the two girls were killed due to asphyxia as the dresser pressed on their chests.

While the parents of the children have not been charged, the children's grandmother said that they feel guilty about the accident and have been questioning whether there was anything that they could have done differently. A community vigil held on July 7 offered the first step toward closure for the family of the two little girls and the mother said that she felt the warmth of the community even though the rest of her was still numb.

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 25,000 children from the age of one month up to eight years were taken to the emergency room between 2000 and 2011 due to injuries caused by furniture. While there are voluntary measures in place to make furniture safer, there are no statutory penalties for a failure of a manufacturer to comply with those guidelines.

Although this accident happened in the children's own home, liability can in some cases be imposed against the owner of the premises if those who are injured or killed are visitors. If a minor is injured, the parents or guardian may pursue an action against the owner of the premises if the owner knew or should have known of the dangerous or unsafe condition that led to the accident. Consulting with an attorney who has experience in premises liability litigation may be advisable under such circumstances.

Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette, "Falling furniture a hazard for children", Emma S. Brown and Amy McConnell Schaarsmith, July 08, 2014

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