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Casey Holds Hearing on Preventing Home Tragedies for Seniors, Children

Casey highlighted bipartisan STURDY Act, which is endorsed by manufacturers and retailers including IKEA, Room & Board, Crate & Barrel and Williams-Sonoma

Washington, D.C. - On Thursday, March 31, U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Bob Casey (D-PA) held a hearing entitled, “Preventing Tragedies and Promoting Safe, Accessible, and Affordable Homes,” which examined best practices to keep older adults and children safe from accidental and preventable injuries at home. Senator Casey highlighted his bipartisan legislation to prevent consumer-related deaths, the STURDY Act, which would create a mandatory stability standard for furniture by requiring rigorous testing measures to ensure chests, bureaus, drawers and dressers are manufactured with stability and safety in mind.

Senator Casey is also a cosponsor of the Preventative Home Visit Act, which would help thousands more older adults prioritize their safety and prevent in-home safety hazards. This bill would provide coverage from Medicare for in-home visits by qualified health care professionals who can identify health and safety risks. Though Americans over the age of 65 only account for 16 percent of the population, they make up 71 percent of consumer-related deaths annually.

“We must do more to prevent tragedies caused by unintentional home injuries,” said Chairman Casey. “Children and seniors are especially vulnerable to these injuries, which can be incredibly costly and, in some cases, deadly. There is no reason for any family to endure this unspeakable loss. My STURDY Act would save lives and keep families safe from harm by establishing a simple, commonsense requirement—companies must ensure their products are tested for safety before being sold. I will work to pass this legislation to help stop the hundreds of preventable injuries and deaths each year from falling furniture and give peace of mind to families and seniors.”

Chairman Casey invited Janet McGee, the Director of Parents Against Tip-overs, to testify at the hearing about her experience losing her son, Ted, to a furniture tip-over incident. Janet testified, “While I thought Ted’s death was a completely isolated incident, I learned shortly after his death that he was not alone. His dresser didn’t meet the safety standard for clothing storage units, and worse yet, it didn’t have to because it’s a voluntary standard. Thousands of children, adults, and seniors are sent to the ER every year from tip-over related incidents. And sadly, over 570 people have died from tip-overs in the last 2 decades. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 82% of these fatalities were children and 14% were seniors… So today I come before you to ask for your support in passing the STURDY Act. This piece of legislation would require these gaps between real world use and current testing to be accounted for and would finally make this safety standard mandatory. ”

Read more about the STURDY Act here.