IKEA Offers To Fix Drawers After Two Tragic Deaths

The Swedish furniture giant IKEA issued free repairs of its popular MALM dressers on Wednesday after two children were killed by the unanchored furniture. IKEA created the repair program in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, though it's technically not a recall of the trendy chest of drawers. Roughly 7 million MALM chests are included in the repair program, and IKEA is also warning furniture owners to not use the drawers unless the piece of furniture is securely anchored to the wall.

The affected products are MALM 3- and 4-drawer chests and two styles of MALM 6-drawer chests, according to the CPSC. However, IKEA and the federal agency are also requesting owners of IKEA children's chests and dressers taller than 23.5 inches, and adult chests and dressers taller than 29.5 inches, to anchor the products to the wall before using. The furniture company is worried, of course, that any of these chests and dressers could fall without the proper anchoring.

This alarming warning comes more than a year after two children were killed by falling MALM dressers in two separate accidents. In February 2014, a 2-year-old boy in West Chester, Pennsylvania, was killed by a 6-drawer MALM chest after it tipped over, pinning him against his bed. Several months later, in June 2014, a 23-month-old child in Washington State was killed by a falling 3-drawer MALM dresser, which reportedly trapped the child underneath. According to the CPSC, those two pieces of furniture were not secured to a wall.

For its repair program, IKEA is offering consumers free wall-anchoring kits for the 3- and 4-drawer MALM chests, the two 6-drawer MALM chests, and other large dressers and chests sold by the company. Tip-over restraints, wall-anchoring hardware, and various warning labels are included in the kit. Until consumers can securely fasten their chests and drawers to their walls, IKEA is requesting owners to move their furniture into storage, or at least out of harm's way, to protect their children.

Preventing furniture accidents among children is a top priority for the CPSC, which just launched the Anchor It! campaign in June to raise awareness about the potential safety risks of unstable furniture and large television sets. According to CPSC research, a child dies in America every two weeks from a furniture or television tip-over accident. A 2014 CPSC report also found that an estimated 38,000 people are treated in emergency rooms each year as a result of furniture and television tip-over accidents. A majority of those injured are children, and an overwhelming majority of those killed by falling furniture or TV sets are children between 1 month to 10 years of age.

Images: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission