Ikea—one of the biggest manufacturers of ready-to-assemble furniture, appliances and home accessories—has recently announced a product recall of 27 million of its Malm line of dressers due to tip-over safety concerns after another accident claimed the life of a third child in two years.
“We are announcing this recall today given the recent tragic death of a third child. It is clear that there are still unsecured products in customers’ homes, and we believe that taking further action is the right thing to do”, according to a statement by Ikea to CNN Money.
This is not the first time lives have been lost owing to faulty furniture plans. The design of the dressing line appears erratic with incidences of tripping very high, especially in situations when the dresser is not fastened to the wall.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and IKEA reported the death of a two year-old boy in February 2014 after a MALM 6-drawer chest tipped over and pinned the child against his bed. Similarly, in June 2014, a 23-month old child in Washington died after being trapped under the 3-drawer MALM.
According to CPSP, 14 other tip-over incidences have resulted in serious injuries. Three other deaths relating to different Ikea furniture have also been reported since 1989. Moreover, it has been stipulated that in the United States, a child dies every two weeks from tripping over furniture or TVs. The rate of such injuries is estimated to be as high as reported every 24 minutes.
According to consumer safety authorities, no satisfactory action has been previously taken to contain the problem. A single safety campaign aimed at customers was launched by Ikea in the US in 2015, stipulating the use of anchoring kits with the dressers, which failed to involve masses due to a lack of publicity. Most parents claimed they did not know about using tool kits to attach the furniture to the walls.
Ikea spokesperson Mona Astra Liss, whilst defending the preventive move taken by Ikea in 2015, said there are still unsecured products in homes and they believe that recalling them from every possible source seems the right thing to do in the current circumstances. President of Ikea USA, Lars Petersson, confirmed the recall in an interview with NBC News and insisted upon taking the faulty furniture out of the homes of customers.
The CPSP has specified certain safety standards for furniture products to make them safe and tip-over –free. According to the standards, the unit should not tip when one drawer is open and a weight of 50 pounds is applied to the center front the drawer. Ikea insists that there are specific tests that should be performed in order to make the furniture tip-proof and those tests must be repeated for each drawer of the unit. The details of the recall agreement are speculated to be disclosed by federal authorities sometime soon.
It is worth mentioning that tragedies caused by furniture tip-over are very common and cannot be evaded completely but certain child-proofing safety measures can help in reducing the chances of such incidents.
In Canada, the government provides precautionary measures for ensuring the well-being of your child, some of which suggest teaching children to not climb furniture and to supervise them. One very important recommendation is to use furniture that can be placed directly on the floor as furniture with legs or wheels is more likely to tip over.
The most critical safety measure that can be adopted to avoid furniture-related hazards is to not assemble the furniture without any professional help. Moreover, it is urged to securely attach the furniture to the wall using angle braces, anchors or safety straps to avoid risking the life of children.
Older pieces of furniture that do not have the securing kits with them should also not be used unless they are attached to walls. The Canadian government emphasizes visiting local hardware stores to purchase restraints or anchors to ensure the safety of children.