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Ikea Recalls 29 Million Dressers Following Third Child Fatality

Consumers Urged to Anchor Chests and Dressers or Return for Refund
Recalled IKEA MALM 4-drawer dresser. Consumer Product Safety Commission

SOMERSET, NJ—Three years ago, Sally Lewis, purchased a pair of IKEA 6-drawer "MALM" dressers for a guest room in her home, but due to Ikea’s latest recall concerning a tip-over hazard, she says she’ll request a refund from the Netherlands-based company.

“I’m not handy and don’t want to mess with someone making holes in my walls to screw in a [free wall-anchor] so, I think I’ll just replace the dressers and not purchase anymore furniture at the [Elizabeth] Ikea in the future,” said Lewis.

Lewis said she was not interested in getting involved with Ikea’s other recall option: “A one-time, free in-home installation service," will provide the fix.

Ikea, which designs and sells ready-to-assemble beds, desks, chairs, and other furniture and accessories is recalling some 29 million chests and dressers from its MALM furniture line.

Why now?  Five months ago, a 22-month old boy “died when a MALM 6-drawer chest fell on top of him,” according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC).

The accident could have been prevented  if the dresser had simply been anchored to a wall with so-called "restraint hardware" and Ikea has been providing it in the form of a free repair kit, for nearly a year.

The kit contains parts and instructions to secure the unstable chests to a wall.

Only now, Ikea North America, based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, will send a service person to your home to install the anchoring hardware at no charge, whereas, originally the repair program didn't offer consumers the in-home installation.

Nor did the repair program offer a refund for returning the product.

“Consumers are entitled to a full refund for chests and dressers manufactured between January 2002 and June 2016. Consumers with chests and dressers manufactured prior to January 2002 will be eligible for a partial store credit,” reads a CPSC news release. 

Yet “two tragic fatalities involving MALM chests and dressers occurred prior to [the July 2015] repair program,” according to the CPSC.

  • In February 2014, a 2-year-old boy from West Chester, Pa. died after a 6-drawer MALM chest tipped over and fatally pinned him against his bed.
  • In June 2014, a 23-month-old boy from Snohomish, Wash. died after he became trapped beneath a 3-drawer MALM chest that tipped over. 

“None of the chests or dressers in [any of the] incidents had been anchored to the wall. In addition to the three deaths, IKEA received reports of 41 tip-over incidents involving the MALM chests and dressers, resulting in 17 injuries to children between the ages of 19 months and 10 years old,” according to a CPSC news release. 

The recalled children’s and adult dressers are unstable if they are not properly attached to the wall and can tip-over, “posing a serious entrapment hazard that can result in death or injuries to children,” says the CPSC.

The recalled MALM chests have been sold to consumers since 2002 for $70 to $200.  The children’s chests and dressers are taller than 23.5 inches while the adult chests and dressers are taller than 29.5 inches.

According to the CPSC, Ikea also received 41 reports of tip-overs involving chests and dressers other than MALM's, resulting in the deaths of three children and nineteen injuries to children:

  • In July 1989, a 20-month-old girl from Mt. Vernon, Va. died after an unanchored GUTE 4-drawer chest tipped over and pinned her against the footboard of a youth bed.
  • In March 2002, a 2½-year-old boy from Cranford, N.J. died after an unanchored RAKKE 5-drawer chest tipped over and fatally pinned him to the floor.
  • In October 2007, a 3-year-old girl from Chula Vista, Calif. died after a KURS 3-drawer chest tipped over and fatally pinned her to the floor. It is unknown as to whether the dresser was anchored or not.

As for Lewis, she said she would have Ikea pick up her two recalled dressers because she often has young children over to visit who use the spare bedroom to play in.

"It's good that Ikea will come and get the dressers for me, because I don't own a truck to haul them in."

“A child dies every two weeks and a child is injured every 24 minutes in the U.S. from furniture or TVs tipping over,” notes the CPSC, citing its own data.

To receive a refund or free wall-anchoring kit, and to arrange to have the kit installed at no charge, contact IKEA anytime at (866)-856-4532.

Customers can also visit an IKEA retail store to make arrangements, or go to www.IKEA-USA.com/recallchestsanddressers.