IKEA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are taking an unusual and perhaps unprecedented step, recalling tens of millions of top-heavy Malm dressers and chests. While IKEA offered repair kits and wall anchors to customers, the message clearly wasn’t getting out that they have been recalled in the United States.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, which has followed the story since a local boy died in 2014, first reported on Monday night that according to a source in the federal government, the CPSC and IKEA planned to announce a full recall of all dressers that don’t meet the voluntary standard for not tipping over in the furniture industry, as well as a number of dresser and chest models that aren’t in the Malm model family, but that don’t meet the not-tipping-over performance standard. The dressers are considered a hazard, having been linked to injuries and even the deaths of three small children.
This might seem like an unusual problem, but it turns out that toppling furniture injures tens of thousands of people in the United States every year. The Malm dresser and chest have been subject to a “repair” program where the retailer sent out wall anchors to customers, but clearly the message about the anchor program isn’t getting out to families, or this wouldn’t keep happening.
IKEA now includes anchoring the piece of furniture to the wall as the last step in its assembly instructions, but it’s apparently not catching on. Families may have missed the notice, may have ignored it because they don’t have small children in their homes right now, or may not have installed the anchors because they’re renters.
The Inquirer’s source reports that the company will offer a refund or store credit for all dressers –– more than 27 million sold in the United States as of 11 months ago –– and stop selling the model. It has already been removed from the website. If customers like their dressers and want to keep them, the retailer will send a repair crew out to ensure that the piece is anchored to the wall.
If you have a dresser and would like to receive a refund and have it removed from your home, or have a crew anchor it to your wall, contact the retailer at 866-856-4532 or email@example.com.
UPDATE: IKEA sent us a statement about the recall.
We believe that chests and dressers are safest when attached to the wall. Last year, we launched a repair kit program to communicate the importance of wall attachment, which resulted in the distribution of 300,000 kits to consumers who had not used their original hardware.
Since then, we have been in close contact with the CPSC to evaluate the success of the repair program and the impact it is having on consumers’ actions. 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.
We will continue to work collaboratively with the CPSC on tip-over prevention, development of the ASTM standard, and innovations that will enhance product safety and further reduce the risk of tip-overs.
Was this helpful? We’re a non-profit! You can get more stories like this in our twice weekly ad-free newsletter! Click here to sign up.
IKEA Recalls MALM and Other Models of Chests and Dressers Due to Serious Tip-Over Hazard. Consumers Urged to Anchor Chests and Dressers or Return for Refund [IKEA USA]
Exclusive: Ikea to halt sale of deadly dressers, offer refunds to millions [Inquirer]