The multinational company Ikea, has recently recalled over 29 million dressers, due to product safety. According to the company, the product is too dangerous for families with kids under the age of 5 and have been responsible for several children’s deaths.

Around 100 models designed and sold by the Swedish company have been recalled, since they are easy to tip over and cause injuries to small children. The main recalled product is the MALM dresser one of Ikea’s top selling home products.

Ikea recalls dressers
Elliot Kaye (left), chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and CPSC employees demonstrate the dangers of Ikea’s dressers. Credit:

On June 28th the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a press conference along with Ikea, to demonstrate the dangerous outcomes of the recalled furniture. Elliot F. Kaye, from the CPSC, explained the need to anchor furniture to the walls.

A previous report from the CPSC shows that falling furniture are responsible for injuring over 25,000 children per year. Between 2000 and 2013, over 430 kids died from falling furniture, including TV’s, dressers and several items.

As reported by Fox News, 65 percent of falling furniture related deaths, are linked directly to misplaced televisions or wrongly located. Becoming one of the most concerning facts for both parents and product makers.

“Every two weeks a child in the United States is killed in a tip-over incident involving either, furniture or TV’s,” said Kaye at the press conference. “ It is simply too dangerous to have the recalled furniture in your home unanchored if you have young children.”

A national matter

In April, safety advocates and consumer groups started to pledge Ikea and authorities to warn about hazardous outcomes when purchasing the line of dressers. The pledge started after a Minnesota child was killed after a dresser tipped over him, being the third child in two years to die that way.

Concerned groups sent a letter to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, asking to stop the selling of these products and to inform the nation about its consequences.  Four groups including the Consumer Federation of America signed the letter.

As a response to the letter, an Ikea spokeswoman announced its concern on the matter and their continuous work with the CPSC. Later on, they offered to send free anchor kits to consumers and elaborate an awareness campaign.

Now, Ikea has answered the matter by the hand of the CPSC, recalling over 29 million sold dressers from their MALM line, explaining the dangers of the product if not anchored.

On the press conference CPSC’s Elliot Kaye, along with three helpers, demonstrated how easy it was for a dresser to tip over when a child climbed on top. Stating the dangers of owning one, without being anchored.

Ikea offered a full refund for the reclaimed products. Users that weren’t able to bring the product to their local store could benefit from Ikea workers that would go to their homes and remove it. Free anchor kits were also offered during the press conference.

Since the recall, several online selling platforms have offered the products. From Facebook pages to Craigslist users are now selling the recall products, which is illegal since 2008 according to a CPSC act.

“We have an aggressive policy with online platforms. We are looking over the shoulder of these online sellers to make sure recalled products are not slipping through,” said Patty Davis CPSC spokeswomen.

The Product Safety Commission is currently warning users and platforms to take down the products, giving them a chance to stop selling. The commission is also warning users and consumers to investigate a product before purchasing.

Product-safety conversations

After Ikea’s had recalled their products, several discussions are being made on how the subject was handled, pinpointing who’s to blame in the matter. Specially Ikea’s management of the advised wall anchoring.

Since the CPSC started warning about tip-over products, Ikea stated the importance of anchoring such products to the walls. Conversations and discussions on the matter assure Ikea does not give much importance to this in their product’s instructions.

As the company has stated, none of the recalled products was meant to be freestanding especially if young children are present. But others assure that a good design should be enough to prevent this accident from happening.

Lloyd Alter, a corporate responsibility reporter from the TreeHugger website, assured he bought the MALM dresser for his teenage daughter, and even though there were no tip-over warnings, he didn’t think about anchoring.

As Alter reports, U.S. consumers don’t want to draw holes on their walls and Ikea’s products don’t inform the importance of this. The tip-over matter has been a concern for several years, and it not only involves Ikea but all home product makers.

According to Alter’s report, Ikea chose to fabricate a product for their market, an easy, light, small product to avoid weight costs, money materials, and shipping costs. Resulting in an unstable and not an intuitive product.

Tip-over prevention

Since the tip-over conversation sparkled over the Ikea situation, many critics are claiming it’s the parents fault for not supervising their children. But the generalized views stand on preventing the matter with safety measures.

Anchoring home products are the first advice, from dressers to bookcases and TV’s if the customer has young children, this is the first step to go. Placing products such as TV’s at edges with nearby objects is a NO for parents with young children.

Young kids will try to get the TV remote or similar objects if placed nearby the TV, which could end on the child climbing a dresser or a stand, with the TV or stand to tip over with the child on it.

Ikea is currently working on anchoring and prevention campaign, to draw attention on the tip-over matter for both parents and the safety of young children.

Source: Chicago Tribune