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Two Child Deaths Prompt Tip-Over Warning About IKEA Chests and Dressers

Jul 24, 2015

After two children were fatally injured by chests of drawers that tipped over, Swedish furniture maker IKEA has said consumers should keep the furniture away from children unless the chests are mounted to a wall.

IKEA is offering a free kit to help anchor the chests to a wall, the Associated Press (AP) reports. The announcement covers 27 million chests and dressers above specific heights, including 7 million of IKEA's Malm chests, the ones responsible in the deaths. The kit will be available to customers who bought chests and dressers above specific heights to anchor the furniture. "They are unstable when built and used without a wall anchoring device," said Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) spokesman Scott Wolfson.

Neither the company nor CPSC described the announcement as a recall, but, technically, an offer to repair or replace a product is a recall, the AP explains.

In 2014, according to IKEA and the CPSC, two boys, each around two years old, were killed after Malm chests that were not secured to walls tipped over and fell on them. A two-year-old boy in West Chester, Pennsylvania, was fatally pinned against his bed in February 2014 when 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 that tipped over.

There were also 14 reports of Malm chests tipping over, causing four injuries. IKEA said it is aware of three other deaths with involving other chests that tipped over, the AP reports. Those deaths reportedly happened since 1989. The CPSC and IKEA say consumers should not use IKEA children's chests and dressers taller than 23½ inches and adult chests and dressers taller than 29½ inches unless they are securely anchored to the wall. To receive a free wall anchoring kit, consumers should visit an IKEA retail store, go to, or call (888) 966-4532.

The Malm chests covered by the anchoring-kit offer have been sold since 2002. They are priced from $80 to $200. The company is not offering customers a refund or telling them to return the furniture. Customers do not need proof of purchase to get the anchoring kit. IKEA said it had worked with the CPSC for six months on the announcement and described this as a "corrective action," according to the AP. Before the announcement was made, the CPSC reviewed IKEA's repair kit to make sure it would not make the problem worse.

There have been several other dresser recalls announced this year, part of a campaign by the CPSC to warn parents about the risks of furniture that can tip over. None of other recalls was as large as the IKEA recall.

According to CPSC data, a child dies every two weeks and a child is injured every 24 minutes in the U.S. from furniture or televisions tipping over. To help prevent injuries and deaths, the agency urges parents and caregivers to securely anchor furniture and televisions to the wall.

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