The deaths of two young children fatally injured by IKEA dressers that tipped over on them prompted a warning from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Swedish furniture maker IKEA that the furniture should not be used around children unless securely anchored to a wall.
Twenty-seven million chests and dressers above a certain heights are covered by the announcement, including 7 million of IKEA’s Malm chests, the model responsible for the children’s deaths. IKEA is offering consumers a free repair kit to anchor the chests to a wall, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
The CPSC said the kit will be made available to customers who bought chests and dressers above specific heights. CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson said the chests “are unstable when built and used without a wall anchoring device.” Though the announcement is not being described by either the CPSC or IKEA as a recall, the AP explains that an offer to repair or replace a product is usually considered a recall.
Two boys, each two years old, died last year when a Malm chest that was not secured to the wall tipped over on him, according to IKEA and the CPSC. A two-year-old boy in West Chester, Pennsylvania, was fatally pinned against his bed in February 2014 when a Malm six-drawer chest fell on him, and a 23-month old boy from Snohomish, Washington, died after being trapped beneath a three-drawer Malm chest that tipped over.
IKEA has said there were also 14 reports of Malm chests tipping over; four of these incidents caused injuries. IKEA said there were three deaths since 1989 involving other chests that tipped over, according to the AP. The CPSC and IKEA say consumers should not use IKEA children’s chests and dressers taller than 23½ inches and adult chests and dressers taller than 29½ inches unless they are securely anchored to the wall. Consumers can obtain the free wall anchoring kit by visiting an IKEA retail store, going to www.IKEA-USA.com/saferhomestogether, or calling (888) 966-4532. Customers do not need proof of purchase to get the anchoring kit.
The Malm chests that fatally injured the two boys have been sold since 2002; they are priced from $80 to $200. IKEA is not offering a refund and is not telling customers to return the furniture. The CPSC said it worked with IKEA for six months on the announcement, which IKEA described as a “corrective action,” according to the AP. Before the announcement was made, the CPSC reviewed IKEA’s repair kit to make sure it would effectively anchor the chests to prevent tipping.
There have been several other dresser recalls this year as part of a CPSC campaign to reduce the risk of furniture tipping over. The CPSC calculates that a child dies every two weeks and a child is injured every 24 minutes from furniture and televisions that tip over. The agency urges parents and other caregivers to securely anchor furniture and televisions to the wall to prevent injuries.