IKEA Recalls 29 Million Dressers and Chests Following Deaths of Multiple Children

ikea dressersAt least six child-deaths and dozens of injuries have been caused by IKEA dressers which tip over, crushing the children. IKEA may be facing multiple lawsuits related to these serious safety incidents.

Swedish-based home goods manufacturer, IKEA has recalled an estimated 29 million dressers due to multiple injuries and at least six deaths which have been caused by furniture toppling over onto children.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported that 8 million chest and dresser units of IKEA’s popular MALM furniture line, along with an estimated 21 million additional dressers and chests are involved in a complete recall. The deaths of at least six children have been attributed to IKEA chests and dressers, including three toddler deaths caused by the MALM units alone.

Prior to the recall, the company had received reports of at least 17 injuries to children between 19 months and 10 years of age caused by MALM chests or dressers tipping over when not anchored to the wall. Another 41 incidents of tipping furniture, involving at least 19 injuries and three deaths of children under the age of four, have been attributed to other lines of IKEA children’s and adult chests or dressers, some of which date back to 1989.

In the most recent, MALM-related string of incidents, the first toddler death occurred in February of 2014, when a 2-year-old in West Chester, PA, was killed by a six-drawer MALM dresser which fell and pinned him against a bed. In June of 2014, the second death occurred in Snohomish, WA when a 23-month-old boy was trapped under a three-drawer MALM chest. The most recent death occurred in February of 2016, when a 22-month old boy from Apple Valley, MN was crushed by a falling six-drawer MALM chest.

Concerns about the MALM furniture line have been well-known and in July of 2015, IKEA launched an ad campaign, warning about the dangers of un-anchored furniture. At the same time, in coordination with the CPSC, IKEA also announced a repair program related to the MALM line, distributing over 300,000 kits to anchor dressers and chest units to walls but stopped short of issuing a recall. Consumer advocates have felt that the company has not done enough.

Most US furniture manufacturers comply with voluntary safety standards which require that furniture units will not tip over when up to 50 pounds of weight is applied to an extended drawer. All of the IKEA units that failed that safety test are on the recall list.

IKEA president and CEO, Lars Petersson has said that the furniture was never intended to be stand-alone, but was meant to be anchored to walls as part of the assembly. In press release, the company stated that “a child in the US dies every two weeks” due to falling appliances, televisions or furniture. The company also stated that it was “clear that there are still unsecured products in customer’s homes” and that the recall action was being taken because “it is the right thing to do”.

As part of the recall, IKEA has discontinued sales of the affected units. The company continues to offer anchoring kits and will send workers to install those units and secure furniture units to walls or will pick up recalled units and offer refunds. The recall and terms also affects customers in Canada who purchased any of the near-7 million units sold.

IKEA is facing at least one major lawsuit filed by the parents of the three deceased toddlers. The company has been accused of manufacturing a poorly designed product that is unreasonably dangerous. They have also been accused of failure to issue adequate warnings about a product that was known to be defective. Despite statements of concern, the company has denied responsibility.

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