IKEA has recalled 29 million dressers and chests after six children were crushed to death by the products. IKEA announced the massive recall after it was confirmed that a sixth child has died alongside a reported 36 injuries. The dressers and chests are “prone to tipping over” when not properly secured to the wall which resulted in the crushing deaths of the children. Now IKEA is working to ensure all of their products are properly secured by offering all owners a wall anchoring kit for the furniture.
ABC News reports that furniture giant IKEA is recalling 29 million dressers and chests after a series of deaths associated with improperly secured units. The company says they are recalling the dressers because it is the “right thing to do.” IKEA notes that they decided on the recall after a third child was killed by the popular MALM dresser. The dressers must be anchored to the wall due to their top-heavy design. However, the company says it became “clear” that there were still many dressers improperly installed in homes with small children.
IKEA says that they took steps to ensure no more children would be harmed by their dressers last year when they instituted a repair kit program at their stores. The company encouraged consumers to come into the store for a free wall anchoring kit if they failed to install the one provided in the original hardware. In total, IKEA says they distributed over 300,000 of the wall anchoring kits. Despite offering free wall anchoring kits and offering the wall anchoring in the original hardware packaging, IKEA says that it became clear that many families were still using the dressers and chests without the anchors. As a result, IKEA says they chose to issue a recall to raise more awareness of the issue and to encourage users to properly install the anchors or to return the furniture to the store.
“It is clear that there are still unsecured products in customers’ homes, and we believe that taking further action is the right thing to do. We will continue to work collaboratively with the CPSC on tip-over prevention, development of the ASTM standard, and innovations that will enhance product safety and further reduce the risk of tip-overs.”
The IKEA recall was completely voluntary and appears to be a move by the company to ensure that families with small children are aware of the dangers of unsecured furniture. Those who own the recalled dressers and chests have the option to come into the store for a free repair kit or to even have a team of repair specialists sent to their home to install the wall anchoring kit. Another option available to consumers is to return the recalled IKEA units to the store for a full refund. The full refund is available to anyone who purchased the furniture between 2002 and 2016. If a customer has an older unit, they may qualify for a partial refund.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission notes that 36 children have been injured in tip-over accidents associated with IKEA furniture and six have been killed, three of which were killed by the MALM dresser model. One mother, Jaquelyn Collas, told ABC that she found her 2-year-old son pinned beneath their IKEA MALM dresser and his bed. The mother is now suing IKEA, noting that she was not aware that the dresser should be anchored and that furniture should not need to be anchored to be safe.
“I didn’t know to anchor my furniture and, in my mind, I feel that we really shouldn’t have to. Get rid of it, it’s dangerous, it’s a really dangerous product.”
Non-profit furniture safety organization Meghan’s Hope notes that all furniture, televisions, and appliances should be anchored to the wall due to the hazard of tipping over. In fact, Meghan’s Hope reports that one child dies every two weeks from a television, dresser, or appliance falling on him or her. Additionally, three children are injured every hour from items that are not properly anchored to the wall.
IKEA also has a Secure It! page dedicated to encouraging parents to install proper wall anchoring devices for all furniture. The page notes that all IKEA furniture comes with “tip over restraints” which should always be installed.
It should be noted that the IKEA furniture is deemed safe if the provided tip-over restraints or another wall mounting product were used. IKEA is offering the recall to consumers as a means to spread awareness regarding furniture tip-over deaths and to give customers the option to come in for replacement wall anchoring kits. If the family does not want to install the wall anchoring kit themselves, IKEA is also giving consumers the option to have them professionally installed at their home. If the consumer does not want to utilize the wall anchors, IKEA will refund the full amount for the unit as they do not want any of their units to be used in homes without being properly installed due to the risks associated with items that are not anchored properly.
IKEA also recently recalled a series of safety baby gates that could unexpectedly open.
“The Swedish retailer said it knew of six children who had needed medical attention as a result of incidents involving its Patrull range of safety gates. A third-party investigation carried out after customer complaints found that the locking mechanism was not reliable despite the gates meeting approved standards.”
What do you think about IKEA’s voluntary recall?