Children's Minnesota in the News

Children’s Minnesota hosts Sen. Amy Klobuchar for furniture safety press conference

On Monday, April 18, Children’s Minnesota welcomed Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, to its Minneapolis hospital for a press conference where the senator called for the passage of legislation aimed to protect children from falling furniture. The Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act, or STURDY Act, would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to revise the safety standards for furniture like dressers, bureaus or chests of drawers to protect children from tip-over related death or injury.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaking at a press conference at Children's Minnesota. Also pictured left to right: Janet McGee, Dr. Marc Gorelick, Dr. Andrew Kiragu.

According to the CPSC, more than 580 people have died from tip-overs in the last two decades, 81% of the deaths were children, including Janet McGee’s 22-month-old son, Ted. During the press conference, McGee shared Ted’s story and her efforts to push for better furniture safety measures during the press conference.

“Since my son died in 2016, 52 more people that we know of have been killed by a tip-over. And this, unfortunately, will continue to happen until clothing storage units can be designed inherently stable following the passage of the STURDY Act,” said McGee. “As parents, we worry about many things; furniture falling on our children should not be one of them.”

Sen. Klobuchar is one of the original cosponsors of the bipartisan STURDY Act.

“One way we can make sure we never forget Teddy is to make sure it doesn’t happen to other kids,” remarked Sen. Klobuchar.

Dr. Marc Gorelick speaking at Sen. Klobuchar press conference

Children’s Minnesota president and CEO, Dr. Marc Gorelick, shared how the organization partnered with McGee after hearing the story of her son. McGee partnered with the Children’s Minnesota injury prevention team to create videos that could inform families from diverse cultural backgrounds about safety measures to prevent tip-overs. “But we know our injury prevention work is just one small piece of the puzzle,” said Dr. Gorelick. “Policy changes, like the ones included in the STURDY Act, are vitally important to preventing injuries and fatalities.”

According to Dr. Andrew Kiragu, a critical care physician at Children’s Minnesota, over the past decade, 100 children have ended up in the Children’s Minnesota emergency departments because of a furniture tip-over.

“We shouldn’t stand by and allow potentially dangerous products to be available for sale. The STURDY act takes the burden off of families and ensures that the products themselves are built to a higher standard, with safety in mind from the very beginning,” Dr. Kiragu said during the press conference.

Sen. Klobuchar sits on the Senate Commerce Committee which has plans to consider the STURDY ACT.

Read more about the press conference and STURDY Act in the Star Tribune: Sen. Amy Klobuchar pushes furniture safety standards.

Preventing furniture tip-overs