Recalls Save Lives, Repairs Don’t

Three years ago, I wrote a post about the importance of anchoring large pieces of furniture such as TV’s and dressers after the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CSPC) recalled two brands of dressers responsible for the deaths of two young children. Then just a year later in 2014, two more young children were killed by toppling IKEA-made dressers, forcing the Swedish company to launch a safety-awareness program about the potential dangers of their product.
 
However, it is apparent that IKEA’s efforts did not go far enough. In February of this year another family was crippled by the death of their 22-month-old son when the same IKEA ‘Malm’ dresser tipped over onto him.
 
After the first two deaths in 2014, IKEA launched what it called a “repair program.” But rather than repairing the defect, this campaign merely offered a strap system which would reduce the likelihood of the dresser tipping over. It didn’t eliminate the underlying defect. And of the 27 million dressers sold, only 300,000 customers requested them, leading one to ask how effective was this awareness campaign? And why did the CPSC allow these unsafe dressers to remain on the market in homes with young children? These are questions that will nag the family of 22-month-old Theodore as they were completely unaware of the danger that their IKEA dresser posed to their son.
 
Many safety advocates are faulting the CPSC and IKEA for this “repair program”. While IKEA used the phrase “recall” in announcing the program, in fact, it was not. A recall would have created more cause for concern among customers, requiring the dresser be returned to IKEA. This “repair program” simply asks that customers order or pick up an anchoring kit they would have to install themselves from the wall to the dresser. Considering only .01% of customers who purchased Malm dressers ordered their repair kits, I’d consider the awareness program a failure. So would Theodore’s parents.
 
Given IKEA’s global success as a provider of affordable furniture, their actions set the standard for safety measures within their industry. In Sweden where the company is based, it meets their more stringent safety measures, requiring that all furniture must be anchored to the walls. It is incumbent upon the CPSC to create stricter regulations here in the US that ensures these preventable deaths don’t occur again.
 
If you have an IKEA Malm dresser, order a free wall-anchor kit today by visiting www.IKEA-USA.com/saferhomestogether, or call toll-free at 888-966-4532. And go to https://goo.gl/bfOHZX and tell the CSPC it should issue a recall of the Malm dressers.