Furniture giant Ikea is recalling and issuing refunds for more than 35 million chests and dressers after six children died when the furniture tipped over on them.
The Swedish company announced Tuesday that it is giving customers in the United States and Canada full refunds for a number of chests and dressers, including its popular Malm line manufactured between January 2002 and June 2016, as well as partial refunds for affected furniture manufactured before 2002. The company is also offering free wall-anchoring kits to customers who would like to keep their dressers.
“Consumers should immediately stop using any recalled chest and dresser that is not properly anchored to the wall and place it into an area that children cannot access,” the company said in a statement.
A year ago, Ikea began offering free wall-anchoring kits for its chests and dressers after reports that two children – a 2-year-old from Pennsylvania and a 23-month-old from Washington state – had died as a result of toppled Malm furniture. Tuesday’s recall comes after a third Malm furniture death in February, in which a 22-month-old from Minnesota was killed by a six-drawer Malm chest that fell on top of him.
The company said it had also received reports of at least 41 cases of Malm chests and dressers tipping over, resulting in 17 injuries to children, in addition to the three deaths. It also received 41 complaints about other models of chests and drawers that claimed the lives of three children and injured 19 others.
One of those, in July 1989, involved a 20-month-old girl from Mount Vernon, Virginia, who died after an unanchored Gute four-drawer chest tipped over and pinned her against the footboard of a youth bed, the commission said in a statement.
“Every two weeks a child in the U.S. is killed in a tip-over related incident involving furniture or TVs,” Elliot Kay, chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in a statement. “These are tragic numbers.”
Malm dressers, constructed of particleboard and fiberboard, have long been a fixture of starter homes and apartments. They retailed for $70 to $200, according to Ikea.
In all, Ikea is recalling more than 100 models of dressers and chests, including those in its Hemnes and Kullen lines. Customers can request a refund online or by phone.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Abha Bhattarai