Update (23 November 2017): Ikea has relaunched its recall of the MALM range of chests and dressers in the US and Canada following the death of an eighth child.
It says there are no plans to do the same in the UK, however, stating that, here, they meet all ‘mandatory stability requirements’.
IKEA has agreed to pay $50 million (£41 million) to the three families of children who tragically died when its furniture fell on them.
The Swedish brand no longer sells its MALM 4-chests of drawers in America following the death of three toddlers who died as a result of the chest of drawers tipping on them.
In 2015 IKEA announced that it would provide free wall-anchoring kits for its MALM chests – and for other chests of drawers and dressers – following the deaths of two children who were also tragically killed by the chest of drawers tipping over on them.
IKEA then recalled 27 million chests of drawers in America and offered full refunds to all customers after 22-month-old Ted McGee became the third toddler to die when a MALM drawer fell on him.
The settlement still has to be approved by the American courts, but solicitors for the families have said the furniture brand has agreed the payment.
A 2-year-old boy from Pennsylvania died in February 2014 when a 6-drawer MALM chest fell on him and pinned him to a bed. Then a 23-month-old from Washington was killed in June 2014 when a 3-drawer MALM chest tipped over and trapped him.
Additionally, IKEA have had 14 reports of tip over accidents involving MALM chests – resulting in 4 injuries.
Tipped over furniture injures a child every 24 minutes, on average, and causes a fatal accident every two weeks, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
An IKEA spokesperson says, “Today, IKEA US and IKEA Canada will launch a local recall of chests of drawers in North America only. The recall is based on the local voluntary ASTM standard, which is applicable in North America. IKEA chests of drawers meet all mandatory stability requirements on all markets where sold.
“We cannot comment further on any details about the action in North America until IKEA US and IKEA Canada, in corporation with their local consumer authorities, will launch the press release, which is planned at 2 pm UTC.
“IKEA chests of drawers are safe when anchored to the wall per the assembly instruction, using the tip over restraint provided with the product.
“Accidents related to furniture tipping over is a serious home safety issue for the entire home furnishing industry and IKEA is committed to take the lead in addressing this challenge. The global IKEA Secure It! campaign is developed to create awareness of the risk of furniture tip-overs and how to prevent it from happening”.
All customers are welcome to contact IKEA on 0203 645 0010 to request a free replacement restraint kit. Or you can return your chest of drawers to your local IKEA store for a refund.
What does it mean for UK customers?
Here in the UK, IKEA says it already provides wall anchors with its furniture – but that you can request a free kit if you didn’t use the original one.
“IKEA already provides tip over restraints and instructions with all floor standing units that are purchased which are required to be fastened to the wall,” Gerard Bos, IKEA UK and Ireland Customer Relations Manager, said. “Warnings about the importance of using the tip over restraints provided are included in the assembly instructions which give step by step instructions for their use.
“Information about furniture tip over restraints is available on the price tag on display units, in IKEA store signage and online.
“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.”