Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski announced that his furniture tip-over safety legislation, Harpers Law, has passed the Assembly (A.7516-C). The bill requires retailers who sell certain, new furniture to offer for sale compatible tip restraint devices. Retailers must also post a notice stating the potentially life-saving benefits of using tip restraint devices. Harpers Law is named after Harper Fried, a 3 year old Hudson Valley girl who was tragically killed after a piece of childrens furniture fell on her. Assemblyman Zebrowski worked closely with the Fried family in drafting this legislation which honors Harpers legacy by preventing these tragic accidents from happening in the future.
The tragedy that the Fried family has been through is unimaginable. It has been an honor to craft this legislation with Harpers tremendously strong parents, Aaron and Erica. We are hopeful that with this measure in place, we can prevent any such tragedies from occurring in the future. Education and information regarding the importance of tip restraint devices is the first step in improving furniture safety in our homes, said Assemblyman Zebrowski.
The danger of furniture tip-overs is real, and unfortunately for our family we know firsthand just how tragic it can be. Harpers Law will help to spread awareness of a hidden home hazard that can be very easily prevented. This law will save lives and prevent families from experiencing such unnecessary tragedy. Our family would like to thank Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski for his consistent dedication to this matter and for being a national leader by introducing state level legislation, said Erica and Aaron Fried.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 195 people have died due to the tipping of clothing storage units between 2000-2016. 86% of deaths were children under the age of 18 and 95% of those fatalities were under the age of 6. Between 2006-2016, there were 65,200 injuries that resulted in emergency room treatment; majority of incidents occurring in residential homes. To prevent injury or death, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends using tip restraint devices when installing furniture.
A tip restraint device is a mechanism that may include straps, wall brackets, plugs, or screw kits that anchors furniture to the wall. Harpers Law requires that certain clothing storage units be sold with a tip restraint device prominently displayed with clear notice of its benefits. A violation of the law would result in a civil penalty of $500 per violation.
The piece of furniture that the Frieds purchased was from a major retailer and did not include a tip restraint device. Many families arent aware that their furniture may require or be safer with this feature. Selling tip restraint devices in tandem with furniture will encourage consumers to purchase and install this inexpensive, yet potentially lifesaving device. This is simple, precautionary measure that can prevent tragedies and save lives, concluded Assemblyman Zebrowski.
Senator Larkin carries the bill in the Senate and passage through the full Legislature is optimistic in the last days of the legislative session.