Following the death of an eighth child when an IKEA dresser tipped-over, federal safety officials have reannounced a massive recall that impacted more than 35 million MALM dressers and chests, which pose a serious risk if not properly anchored to the wall.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) posted information last week about an IKEA chests and dresser recall that was originally issued in June 2016. The action was taken after it was recently learned that a two-year old child died after being pinned under the heavy furniture when it tipped over.
The recall impacted more than 35 million IKEA MALM furniture pieces, which were previously found to be in violation of industry standards that require furniture over specified heights to be anchored to walls to prevent tip-over hazards to consumers.
At least 41 reports of the chests and dressers tipping over have been received by federal regulators, resulting in at least 17 injuries and three deaths prior to June 2016. Since June 2016, the agency has received at least another 113 consumer reports of the pieces of furniture tipping over, resulting in 53 more reported injuries to children and eight fatalities.
The recall includes MALM 3-drawer, 4-drawer, 5-drawer and all 6-drawer models. The children’s chests and dressers measure over 23.5 inches tall and the adult chests and dressers measure over 29.5 inches tall.
Prior to the initial recall, the CPSC consulted with IKEA regarding the fatality reports and the growing number of tip-over incidents reported, however IKEA refused to recall the chests and dressers claiming customers were at fault for failing to properly anchor their furniture.
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.
The most recent of the eight deaths involved a two-year-old boy from Buena Park, California, who became trapped beneath an unanchored MALM 3-drawer chest that tipped over. The incident occurred in May 2017. Previously reported deaths involved a 22 month old, a 23 month old, a 20 month old, and three two year olds who all died after being pinned or trapped under a MALM series dresser or chest that was not anchored properly to the wall or floor.
Children are inherently more susceptible to tip-over accidents from climbing and reaching for items at the top of dressers, or television stands, whether it is for a remote, gaming equipment or toys.
The CPSC recommends that parents never leave items desirable to children on dressers and other top heavy furniture that would entice the child to try and climb or reach for them. The agency began launching an annual Anchor It campaign to spread awareness to parents and guardians on how TV and furniture tip-over incidents occur and the simple steps to prevent them.
Any consumers with IKEA dressers or chests included in the recall are urged to stop using them immediately if they are not properly anchored into the wall or floor and to contact IKEA at 866-856-4532 or visit them online at www.IKEA-USA.com for information on how to obtain a full refund or free repair.