Babies R Us, furniture maker sued over toddler deaths

A lawyer representing the estate of two little girls who were crushed to death last summer by a dresser has filed a lawsuit against the furniture manufacturer and Babies R Us.

The lawsuit filed in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, on behalf of the estate of Ryeley Beatty, 3, and her sister, Brooklyn, 2, accuses Babies R Us and manufacturer Baby Cache of producing and selling the dresser without a safety strap and warnings about possible tip-overs.

The girls were killed in their home in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania., which is near Pittsburgh.

Since 2009, many juvenile product manufacturers have abided by a voluntary industry standard that calls for a tip restraint to be built onto dressers and chests along with a warning about tip-overs. According to The Associated Press, the lawsuit says the family purchased a discounted floor model and that the dresser was missing the strap and warning label.

A spokeswoman for Babies R Us parent Toys R Us said on Tuesday that the company does not comment on pending litigation.

Furniture tip-overs have long been a safety concern. A study released last fall by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 430 Americans were killed between 2000 and 2013 after furniture fell on them. Of those, 84 percent were young children. Tens of thousands of others were treated in hospital emergency rooms.

Safety straps that attach to the backs of heavier furniture that could topple -- a scenario often created when a child pulls out a bottom drawer to stand on -- have been commonly sold as an after-purchase accessory. But furniture and television tip-overs continue to be a safety concern.

The father of the Beatty girls, who was said to be in the bathroom when the dresser fell, was charged with involuntary manslaughter. But that charge has since been dismissed. Both parents still face neglect charges over the conditions in the home.