UK

Ikea Safety Alert After Two Toddlers Are Killed By Falling Malm Chests Of Drawers

23/07/2015 09:49 BST | Updated 23/07/2015 10:59 BST

A US safety watchdog alert has been issued after two children were killed by falling chests of drawers and dressers from Ikea.

A two-year-old boy in West Chester, Pennsylvania, was fatally pinned against his bed in February 2014 after a Malm six-drawer chest fell on him.

And a 23-month old boy from Snohomish, Washington, died after being trapped beneath a three-drawer Malm chest when it tipped over the same year.

ikea malm

A Malm six-drawer dresser

Now the Swedish furniture giant is offering a free kit to help consumers affix the furniture to a wall. The kit will be available to people who bought chests and dressers above specific heights.

The firm says consumers should keep the 27 million chests and dressers away from children unless they are mounted on the wall.

Ikea is offering a free wall anchoring kit for:

  • Malm 3 drawer chests
  • Malm 4 drawer chests
  • Two styles of Malm 6 drawer chests

It has teamed up with US watchdog the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to issue the advice.

"They are unstable when built and used without a wall anchoring device," said CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson.

Neither the company nor the CPSC described the move as a recall, but an offer to repair or replace a product is technically a recall. The CPSC said it could not find a record of any furniture recalls this size.

The agency and Ikea say they have received 14 reports of Malm chests tipping over, resulting in four injuries. Ikea is aware of three other deaths were reported from other models of chests and drawers that tipped over. Those deaths were described as occurring after 1989.

They say consumers shouldn't use Ikea children's chests and drawers taller than 23 1/2 inches and adult chests and drawers taller than 29 1/2 inches unless they are securely anchored to the wall.

The Malm chests in the repair program have been sold since 2002, and they cost $80 to $200. Ikea says its products are safe when assembled according to instructions.

Ikea isn't offering a refund or telling customers to return the furniture to its stores, and says customers don't need proof of purchase to get the kit.

It described the move as a "corrective action" and said it has been working with the CPSC on the announcement for six months. The agency said that time period included a review of Ikea's repair kit to make sure it wouldn't make the problem worse.

A spokesman for Ikea UK and Ireland told Huffington Post UK: "IKEA is committed to raising awareness of the hazard of furniture tip over and in many IKEA markets, including the UK, we are running a safety awareness campaign called “Safer Homes together - Secure it!” in order to raise awareness of this issue.

"As part of the ongoing campaign, IKEA US, in cooperation with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, yesterday announced a free wall-anchoring kit program.

“The best way to help prevent furniture tip over accidents is to secure furniture to the wall. IKEA urges customers to inspect their IKEA chests of drawers and dressers to ensure that they are securely anchored to the wall.

"Should any customer be concerned about their furniture, they are welcome to contact us on 0203 6450010 (UK) or 01 5413302 (ROI) to request a free restraint kit if the original one was disposed of.”