Safety Alert: Ikea’s Furniture Recall is a Reminder of the Need to Secure Furniture to Help Prevent Injuries & Fatalities in the Home
Home furnishings giant Ikea has been the subject of deep scrutiny this week, following the news that up to twenty-nine million “Malm” chests of drawers are being recalled in the USA and Canada. The item is being recalled due to a total of six reported deaths in the past 13 years caused by Ikea chests of drawers, three of which have taken place since 2014. It has been alleged that each death occurred as the result of the chest of drawers falling onto the child.
A spokesperson for Ikea, Kajsa Johansson, told the media that the Malm furniture “meet all mandatory stability requirements on all markets where sold,” adding that the chest of drawers is “safe when anchored to the wall.” Indeed, the chest comes with a recommendation to be attached to a wall through the use of a furniture anchor or similar safety device.
Children can be unpredictable, and it is possible that they will play on furniture, jump around and potentially tip it over. Further still, is the chance that furniture can simply break or fall if unevenly filled with weighty objects, or simply not constructed correctly – which, let’s face it, is extremely possible when we’re talking about Ikea flat-pack furniture built at home. Without the use of a furniture anchor, accidents and injuries are not only possible, but has been fatal in a number of tragic situations. The product reportedly comes with restraints to help prevent tipping over, but apparently these are quite frequently left unused, or disposed of by customers.
This week has not been the first time that the Swedish company has addressed the fatal problems of the Malm furniture. In July 2015, the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the USA issued warnings related to the deaths of a two-year-old boy in Pennsylvania and a 23-month old boy from Washington in 2014. In addition, the CPSC had received reports about 14 chests tipping over, resulting in four further injures. In response, Ikea offered its customers more than 27 million free furniture anchors, to be used with the three-drawer, four-drawer, and two kinds of six-drawer chests under the Malm range, along with other sets and dressers. Other countries, including Australia, similarly provided customers with free anchors. Although Australian stores are not currently participating in the Malm recall, free furniture anchors are readily available to all customers.
It is clearer than ever that the use of a simple, easy-to-install item like a furniture anchor can literally save young lives at home. No matter how sturdy a piece of furniture may appear, the likelihood of it tipping over can be extremely high – and this goes far beyond Ikea furniture. A restraint or a furniture anchor is an ideal tool for helping to prevent accidents and even fatalities, should heavy furniture fall on young children in the home.
Whether home furniture is flat-pack built or professionally constructed, heavy, light, tall or short, the risk of injury is still extraordinarily high, and absolutely no risks should be taken with young children around. A furniture anchor is an absolutely crucial item for any home with toddlers and young children, and must be utilised at any given opportunity to help prevent further injuries and fatalities.