NEW YORK, April 24, 2002 -- In its April 24 broadcast, Inside Edition
investigates a long string of tragedies involving kitchen stoves tipping
onto children, a problem the home appliance industry has acknowledged for
On April 2 in Los Angeles, 2-year-old Edwin Campos and two of his young
cousins were critically injured when they accidentally tipped over a kitchen
stove and were doused with a pot of scalding water.
"In the best case scenario, this boy will have years of reconstructive
surgery," states Peter Grossman, a Los Angeles burn specialist who is caring
for the toddler. Inside Edition reveals many similar
accidents over the years when children have caused stoves to tip and
investigates why these tragedies continue to occur.
Roger Boisjoly is an engineer and safety expert, who tells the newsmagazine
that almost every stove sold in America has a design flaw that can seriously
injure children. Roger explains that young children will sometimes use the
oven door as a step, causing it to tip over.
"When that goes down, this
whole stove comes over, and if anybody's in front of it, they're in
trouble," he warns. To solve this problem, the home appliance industry
actively promotes the use of special anti-tip brackets. Manufacturers say
if the simple metal brackets are installed correctly, they fasten the stove
to the kitchen floor or wall and avert potential disaster.
But attorney Dan Sciano of San Antonio, TX, who has worked on more than a
hundred lawsuits involving stove tip-overs, maintains that brackets are
often installed incorrectly or not at all.
know within the industry that most of the time, it's not being used...
that's the reality," he said. Sciano provided Inside Edition with internal industry
documents that he says show that major manufacturers are well aware that the
safety bracket solution is not working. One e-mail reveals that, as far
back as 1996, one major stove company estimated that less than 10% of their
stoves were being properly installed with safety brackets. Another major
oven manufacturer estimated that less than 5% of their customers had safety
To get an idea how pervasive the problem still is, Inside Edition
"spot-checked" recently-built homes in Mesquite, NV. The newsmagazine found
that only one family in four had safety brackets properly installed. One
had improperly installed brackets, rendering them useless, and two of the
four homes the newsmagazine visited had no safety brackets at all, leaving
their stoves dangerously vulnerable to a tip- over.
Many engineers like Roger Boisjoly believe the tip-over effect can be
eliminated completely by changing the design of the stoves. One solution
that's been discussed for years within the industry is a breakaway door.
When too much weight is applied, the oven door would fall safely to the
ground, instead of pulling over the whole appliance.
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, an industry trade group
that represents oven makers, declined Inside Edition's requests for an
on-camera interview. But in a statement the group said safety is a priority
in the industry and that their ranges, "...adhere to all safety and
stability requirements set by U.S. safety organizations."
Regarding safety brackets, the group said the industry has "...developed an
effective and reliable anti-tip device that can be easily installed."
Attorney Dan Sciano says that the continuing tragedies are proof the
industry's solution is just not working. "The injuries are catastrophic...
I see children getting injured over and over and over and there's just
simply no reason for this anymore...it needs to be stopped. Period."
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission tells Inside Edition the agency
has received reports that anti-tip brackets are not being properly utilized
and are currently looking into the matter.
Inside Edition investigates a long string of tragedies involving kitchen stoves tipping onto children, a problem the home appliance industry has acknowledg...