Swedish furniture giant IKEA has urged parents to make sure all dressers and chests are securely anchored to walls after the tragic deaths of at least two children recently. Millions of Ikea Malm dressers have been recalled this week after the company received reports that some dressers had been blamed for tipping over and falling onto young children. IKEA is expected to release details later this week, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, but the voluntary recall is expected to include at least 29 million dressers sold by the retailer since 2002.
However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission website did offer limited information on the reason for the IKEA recall. In early 2014, a 2-year-old Pennsylvania boy was killed when a 6-drawer chest from the store’s popular furniture line fell over and pinned the toddler against his bed. Four months later, a Washington state toddler died after a 3-drawer Malm chest fell on him. According to CPSC.gov, both dressers would have been sold with materials and instructions for tethering the furniture to a wall, but at the time of the incidents neither dresser had been secured.
According to the recall notice, at least four more injuries have been linked to Malm dressers, and three deaths have involved tip-overs of other IKEA furniture products.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, dozens of children die and at least 25,000 are injured each year because of unstable furniture. That includes dressers, televisions, bookshelves, and other heavy appliances, according to the agency website. Some critics have argued that the tip-over issue could be addressed by forcing manufacturers to follow mandatory stability standards; at present, those standards are largely voluntary, the Inquirer reported.
Concerns that IKEA dressers and shelves were prone to falling over and causing serious injuries led the retailer to launch a public service campaign and furniture repair program in 2015. Rather than redesigning the products to meet more rigorous stability standards, or offering refunds to shoppers, IKEA addressed concerns by offering free wall anchoring kits through its website at www.IKEA-USA.com/saferhomestogether. IKEA did not immediately respond to Romper's request for comment regarding whether it will redesign products to meet more rigorous stability standards.
But while the recall spotlights more than nine million Malm products, one of the store’s most popular furniture lines, even IKEA shoppers who don’t own a Malm dresser may want to pay attention. The Inquirer reported information from an unnamed source familiar with the recall stating that the retailer will take the “unprecedented” step of organizing a campaign to reach owners of 27 million of its wardrobes, dressers, and shelving units. The Inquirer noted that consumers could expect to be issued a full refund, store credit (for older products), or a repair kit for those who choose to keep their IKEA dressers.