In a horrible accident this past February, a 22-month-old was tragically killed after a popular IKEA dresser fell on top of him. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time that a toddler had been killed by large, heavy furniture.
In 2014, there were two such cases of accidental deaths, which helped spur IKEA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s decision to launch a “repair program” for dressers and chests in July 2015. The program would be for all the owners of roughly 27 million Malm style furniture pieces.
Instead of a classic recall, which would require owners to bring in their purchased items, the repair program encourages customers to receive a free wall anchoring kit to secure their dressers and help prevent more tragedies.
According to one report, “The CPSC is asking customers to stop using all Ikea children’s chests and drawers taller than 23.5 inches and adult dressers taller than 29.5 inches, unless they are secured to a wall with the kit. Roughly 7 million Malm chests and 20 million other Ikea chests and dressers are part of the repair program because they can tip over if not securely attached.”
The family of the toddler killed in February is preparing to file a lawsuit against IKEA, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
IKEA’S U.S. Corporate Public Relations Director, Mona Astra Liss, issued a statement addressing the tragedy:
“At IKEA, we believe children are the most important people in the world and the safety of our products is our highest priority. Consistent with our ongoing work and cooperation with the CPSC, upon being informed of this incident we immediately reported it to the CPSC and an investigation is taking place. IKEA has been advised that the product was not attached to the wall, which is an integral part of the product’s assembly instructions.
We wish to emphasize that the best way to prevent tip-over of chests of drawers is to attach products to the wall with the included restraints and hardware per the assembly instructions. IKEA has included restraints with our chest of drawers for decades, and wall attachment is an integral part of the assembly instructions.”
Is IKEA at fault for the tragedies? Or is it the families’ responsibilities to ensure the proper safety measures are taken when they’re building or installing furniture?