In February, a 22-month old from Apple Valley, Minnesota was killed by a falling Malm dresser; his family was unaware of the danger the Malm dresser posed, including two deaths from Malm dresser tip-overs
In a letter to the President of IKEA North America, Klobuchar and Schakowsky call for full recall of Malm dressers, stopping the sale of Malm dressers until safety improvements are made, and determining an appropriate remedy for customers who have purchased Malm dressers that includes offering a full refund
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) urged IKEA to take strong and definitive action to prevent future injuries and deaths from tip-overs of the Malm dresser. In February, a 22-month old from Apple Valley, Minnesota was killed by a falling Malm dresser; however, his family was unaware of the danger the Malm dresser posed, including two deaths from Malm dresser tip-overs. After these two deaths, IKEA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a repair program to provide owners a free wall anchoring kit but IKEA has stated that it has distributed only 300,000 new wall anchors, which only cover about one percent of the 27 million dressers sold. In a letter to the President of IKEA North America, Klobuchar and Schakowsky called for a full recall of Malm dressers, stopping the sale of Malm dressers until safety improvements are made, and determining an appropriate remedy for customers who have purchased Malm dressers that includes offering a full refund.
“As long as these dressers are on the market, IKEA continues to unnecessarily put at risk more children and families,” Klobuchar said. “We have called on the Consumer Product Safety Commission to take action to prevent further injuries and deaths, but IKEA needs to also act to protect the safety of its customers.”
“When families with young children buy furniture for their homes, they should be able to trust that those products are safe,” said Representative Schakowsky. “Three children have been killed in accidents where an IKEA dresser that should not be on the market tipped over. Today, we’re urging IKEA to recall and stop the sale of these dangerous IKEA Malm dressers.”
Earlier this month, Klobuchar, Schakowsky, and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) wrote a letter to the CPSC urging it to take action to prevent future injuries and deaths from tip-overs of the IKEA Malm dresser
The full text of the lawmakers letter is below.
Dear Mr. Ward:
We are writing to urge IKEA to take strong and definitive action to prevent future injuries and deaths from tip-overs of its Malm dresser.
Furniture tip-overs are a significant hazard, especially for children. In the United States, a child is killed on average every two weeks by a falling piece of furniture, television, or appliance, and more than 22,000 children are treated for injuries related to instability or tip-overs each year. Given this risk, IKEA must take additional action to address the known hazard caused by its products, in particular the Malm dresser.
In July 2015, after two deaths from the Malm dresser tip-overs, IKEA and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a repair program to provide owners a free wall anchoring kit. The announcement advised consumers to immediately stop using dressers not secured to the wall, but your company continued selling the dressers.
IKEA’s actions thus far are clearly insufficient. In February 2016, 22-month-old Theodore “Ted” McGee from Apple Valley, Minnesota, was killed by a falling Malm dresser. The dresser was not secured to the wall, and Ted’s parents were not aware of the danger the dresser posed, the July 2015 announcement, or the repair program. Many other families are still at risk. Your company states that it has distributed 300,000 new wall anchors, which only covers about one percent of the 27 million dressers that it has sold. Last week, IKEA said that it would continue collaborating with the CPSC on “communicating about the importance of anchoring chests of drawers to the wall.” While we encourage further steps to improve consumer awareness of anchoring, IKEA also needs to improve the overall safety of its product.
There are serious questions regarding the compliance of the Malm dresser with the voluntary industry standard, ASTM F2057-14. That standard requires that (1) each individual drawer, when open, can hold a 50-pound weight without tipping; (2) the dresser not tip with all the drawers open; (3) the furniture come with warnings and a strap to attach the furniture to the wall; and (4) the first two requirements be met without the strap attached.
Following the announcement of the repair program for Malm dressers, the Philadelphia Inquirer conducted tip-over tests of the dressers. The dressers in the test failed to meet even the first requirement of the ASTM standard. The dresser crashed forward as soon as a 50-pound weight was hung on one drawer. The dressers also failed the second requirement, falling over when all the drawers were opened.
Some in your industry argue that furniture that is only designed to be used when anchored to a wall is not covered by ASTM F2057-14. While the standard does include a limited exception intended for built-in furniture that is truly a permanent part of the home, it clearly does not apply to the Malm dresser. If the Malm dresser does indeed fail to meet the voluntary standard, it should not be sold.
We appreciate that CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye has stated his intent to further address this situation. We hope that IKEA will show similar initiative to stop the unreasonable risk of harm to children. To definitively address the dangers they pose, we urge IKEA to (1) conduct a full recall of Malm dressers that specifically uses the term “recall” in notices to consumers, (2) stop the sale of Malm dressers until safety improvements are made, and (3) determine an appropriate remedy for customers who have purchased Malm dressers that includes offering a full refund. IKEA should also evaluate whether similar actions are appropriate for other dressers that it sells.
We look forward to your prompt response on what actions your company will take to protect the safety of your customers.