Consumers Union statement on report of child death linked to recalled Ikea dresser

Experts

Policy Analyst

October 18, 2017

Washington, D.C. – The Philadelphia Inquirer today reported that a two-year-old boy in California died “when an unsecured Ikea dresser toppled forward,” citing a lawyer for the family. The Inquirer said this is the eighth child known to have died beneath a tipped Ikea dresser, and the first confirmed death since Ikea’s recall of 29 million bureaus in 2016.

Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports, had advocated for the recall to take place, citing previous reports of other child deaths. CU and other safety groups also pressed Ikea for greater transparency in conducting the recall.

William Wallace, policy analyst for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports, said, “The news of another incident is tragic. No parent should have to worry that a seemingly stable piece of furniture is going to tip over and hurt or even kill their child. Yet numerous children have now been harmed, and many homes have a hidden hazard in them that parents and caregivers don’t know about.

“This report raises serious doubts about the effectiveness of the Ikea recall. Despite Ikea’s June 2016 recall of 29 million units, responses to public records requests indicate that the overwhelming majority of them likely remain in homes as a potential threat to children across the country. The company needs to invest more money and marketing expertise into the recall so that more consumers hear about it, and take action. IKEA should show the public it takes this seriously by ramping up its efforts right away.

“At the same time, we urge all consumers with these dressers to take action now. Immediately anchor the dresser to the wall with a free kit from Ikea, have Ikea anchor it for you, or return the dresser and ask for a refund.”

Information on how to take part in the recall is available by calling Ikea at 1-866-856-4532 or by visiting a web page about the recall on IKEA.com.

“Ikea’s competitors should step up, too. In 2017, dressers should be designed to remain upright when young children pull on them, push them, or step on drawers — regardless of whether the dresser has been anchored to the wall. The industry-wide safety standard must be strengthened without delay, so that it ensures this is the case. If the furniture industry doesn’t strengthen the standard, then Congress should require them to do so,” Wallace said.

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Contact: David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org, 202-462-6262

Consumers Union is the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports. Consumers Union works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace. Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications.