IKEA is recalling more than 35 million children and adult chests and dressers, which are unstable and may tip over, crushing and in some cases killing young children.
The IKEA recall was announced today by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), following at least 41 tip-over problems that have caused 17 injuries and three deaths when the furniture fell over because it was not properly anchored down. The action comes after several warnings and campaigns were launched by IKEA to encourage consumers to anchor the furniture.
A total of 8 million MALM 3 drawer dressers, MALM 4 drawer dressers, MALM 5 drawer dressers, MALM 6 drawer dressers, and MALM 6 drawer long dressers are included in the recall. While the MALM dressers are the ones most associated with reports of injuries, an additional 27.6 million other types of children’s and adults dressers and chests sold in the United States and Canada are being recalled as well. For a full list of the recalled furniture pieces and model numbers customers may visit IKEA’s official recall list (PDF).
The CPSC forced the IKEA furniture recall due to its inability to comply with the performance requirements of the U.S. voluntary industry standards, which requires furniture over specified heights to be anchored to walls to prevent tip-over hazards to consumers.
Despite learning about the tip-over problems, IKEA refused to recall the dressers, stating that the families had failed to anchor the furniture properly to the wall to prevent the incidents from occurring.
Two fatalities had been reported by June 2014, involving MALM furniture pieces tipping over. In February 2014, a two year-old Pennsylvania boy was killed after a 6-drawer MALM chest tipped over, fatally pinning him against his bed. The second was reported in June 2014, after a 23-month-old boy was killed when a 3-drawer MALM chest tipped over and trapped him between the furniture and the floor.
After receiving nationwide exposure to the growing incident reports, IKEA, in conjunction with the CPSC, initiated a repair program on July 22, 2015, that offered free wall-anchoring repair kits for the MALM series and other IKEA chests and dressers to prevent tip-over incidents. The repair program reportedly distributed over 300,000 wall-anchoring kits to consumers with impacted furniture pieces.
Even after the July 2015 repair program was announced, the CPSC and IKEA learned of a third fatality in February 2016, involving a 22-month-old Minnesota boy who was crushed to death when an un-anchored MALM 6-drawer chest fell on top of him.
The recalled MALM series chests and dressers were sold at IKEA stores across the nation and in Canada from 2002 through June 2016 for between $70 and $200. The furniture pieces were made of particleboard or fiberboard in white, birch, medium-brown, black-brown, white stained oak, oak, pink, turquoise, grey, grey-turquoise, lilac, green, brown stained ash, and black colored finishes. A 5-digit supplier number, 4 digit date stamp, IKEA logo, country of origin and the series name “MALM” are printed on the underside of the top panel or inside the side panel.
According to CPSC data, furniture and TV tip-over accidents have caused 430 deaths over the last 13 years, and account for roughly 38,000 emergency rooms visits annually. As part of recent efforts to raise awareness about the risk of furniture tip over accidents, the commission indicated that at least one child dies every two weeks and another child is injured every 24 minutes in the U.S. from heavy furniture or televisions tipping over.
IKEA’s recall notice asks consumers to stop using recalled chests and dressers that are not properly anchored immediately, and to place them in an area that children cannot access. Customers should contact IKEA at 866-856-4532 or visit them online at www.IKEA-USA.com/recallchestsanddressers for a choice between either a full refund or a free wall-anchoring repair kit. Customers with furniture pieces manufactured between January 2002 and June 2016 will be offered full refunds whereas customers with furniture pieces manufactured prior to January 2002 will be offered partial store credit.