Ikea, the Swedish furniture icon, along with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), has recalled seven million dressers from its popular Malm collection, along with 20 million other dressers and chests of drawers following the deaths of two children who were crushed in 2014. Although technically considered a recall, the CPSC and the company’s solution is to offer a wall-anchoring kit at no charge to secure the furniture. In a press release, the CPSC said, “To help prevent injuries and deaths, CPSC and IKEA urge consumers to securely anchor furniture and TVs to prevent these tragedies and make their home a safer place.” The repair kits are available both at stores and through the Ikea’s website. Ikea released a statement to Business Insider saying, “IKEA products are safe when assembled according to the instructions.” The company added, “We have been working and collaborating with the CPSC to make certain we are informing our customers and consumers at large about the need to anchor furniture for home safety, especially for children.”
In a Wednesday interview, CPSC Chairman Elliott Kaye said, “Today is a positive step, and I commend Ikea for taking that step, but they need to do more and to make more stable furniture and they need to help lead industry.” Three previous deaths and four injuries have been reported attributed to Ikea dressers and chests of drawers since 1989. A two year-old from West Chester, Pennsylvania was killed in February 2014 when a Malm 6-drawer chest tipped and pinned him against the bed. A nearly two year-old from Snohomish, Washington was also trapped and killed in June 2014 by a 3-drawere Malm chest. According to the CPSC’s press release, “A child dies every two weeks and a child is injured every 24 minutes in the U.S. from furniture or TVs tipping over. Along with Ikea and the CPSC, the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA), which represents over 200 furniture manufacturers, has also led efforts to improve furniture design safety. Spokesperson Jackie Hirschhaut said, “The AHFA, through the work of its members, is engaged in exploring improved product safety methods through innovations in materials and technology.”
Despite the wall-anchor solution as well as additional efforts to make the dressers and chests safer, some believe that the efforts are too little as well as too late. Many people affected by the recall are renters, who are unable to alter the walls, or have walls that aren’t suitable for the anchoring solution. Kaye also notes that, “plenty of parents don’t know about the issue, making it far more important for industry to make what could be very inexpensive design changes.” Ikea spokesperson Mona Liss said that the company will “continue to collaborate with the CPSC to find solutions for more stable furniture,” adding, “We don’t know yet what those solutions will be, but we are committed to working in collaboration to try to find better solutions.” Others wonder why it took over a year since the last death to issue the recall. Although the CPSC did work to clarify manufacturing standards in 2014, Kaye says that U.S. standards are “much fuzzier” than Europe’s. Europe’s voluntary safety standard for the affected dressers and chests states that the furniture needs to be anchored to the wall.
In addition to visiting an Ikea store, customers can obtain the wall anchoring kit by logging onto www.IKEA-USA.com/saferhomestogether, or calling toll-free at 888-966-4532.
Business Insider – Ashley Lutz
Good Housekeeping (blog) – Samantha Toscano
USA Today – Jayne O’Donnell