The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) announces an industry-wide education initiative with the goal of communicating key furniture safety information to American consumers.
The 20+20 Project was announced at AHFA’s 2019 Regulatory Summit in October. Twenty leading manufacturers and 20 leading retail companies are being sought to launch the initiative. Participating companies will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Although we initially are seeking 40 industry leaders to spearhead the effort, we intend for the 20+20 Project to eventually result in better safety communications on hundreds of home furnishings websites,” said AHFA Vice President of Communications Patricia Bowling.
The project was conceived following an AHFA review of its member company websites. “Our member companies are leaders in product safety,” Bowling noted. “But, when we reviewed their websites, we discovered that their efforts and significant accomplishments are mostly hidden from public view.”
Specifically, most companies fail to state that their products comply with the voluntary furniture stability standard, ASTM F2057-19. Also, within the typical list of product attributes, companies seldom mention the tip restraint kit that is included with the purchase of any compliant product.
This information gap is equally apparent on retail websites, according to Bowling’s research. None of the top 20 retail websites mention whether their bedroom storage furniture complies with the ASTM stability standard, including those products designed for children’s rooms. Only a handful mention whether a product comes with a tip restraint for anchoring the product to the wall. A few include helpful information on how to install a tip restraint or a link to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website, www.AnchorIt.gov.
The goal of the 20+20 Project is to elevate safety messaging throughout the industry, beginning with the most high-profile websites, so more consumers understand the importance of selecting compliant furniture and how to identify it in the marketplace.
“We also can do a better job of helping parents and caregivers understand the importance of anchoring furniture when there are small children in the home,” Bowling added. “AHFA realizes that most consumers shopping for bedroom furniture do not have small children. However, it is likely that most of them have a friend, a neighbor or a family member who does. If every major furniture website makes tip-prevention information more prominent, we have a better chance of reaching the households that need these safety precautions the most.”
AHFA is crafting a “toolbox” for helping companies develop tip-prevention content for their websites.
AHFA remains engaged in additional ongoing efforts to reduce furniture tip-over injuries and fatalities involving small children, including:
- Nearly two decades of participation on the ASTM International Furniture Safety Subcommittee, which is constantly reviewing the voluntary stability standard and seeking ways to improve it. AHFA also encourages active involvement on the subcommittee by all its member companies that produce bedroom furniture.
- Funding research designed to inform the work of the subcommittee.
- Promoting compliance with the voluntary standard among its member companies, as well as among all bedroom furniture producers and importers, through its “WE COMPLY” campaign. This effort identifies showrooms at the High Point and Las Vegas furniture markets that comply with the voluntary standard.
- Support for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s enforcement of the voluntary standard, as well as support for a mandatory standard that holds all manufacturers and importers to the same stability requirements.
- Endorsing a third-party verification program developed by Underwriters Laboratories that confirms a company’s product stability testing processes and results.