IKEA has recalled millions of furniture sets over concerns that they can tip over and kill or injure children, it announced.
The Scandinavian furniture company issued a recall for at least 29 million chests and dressers, saying in a statement on Tuesday that it will stop selling its Malm units, which “do not meet the performance requirements of the U.S. voluntary industry standard.”
Three toddlers were killed in separate incidents involving toppling Malm products.
Curren Collas, 2, was killed after the popular chest fell on top of him in his room in Pennsylvania in February 2014.
“I went up to get Curran dressed for breakfast like I do every morning. As soon as I opened the door I knew something was wrong. The dresser was completely flipped over. Then I saw that his body was trapped underneath a dresser,” Curren’s mother, Jackie Collas, wrote on a website dedicated to the memory of her son.
Camden Ellis, a 2-year-old affectionately known as “Bubba Bear,” was crushed to death beneath a Malm dresser in his Washington state home in June 2014.
His father found the little boy pinned beneath the three-drawer version of the product tipped on top of him. Camden was rushed to the hospital and remained on a ventilator for four days before he was taken off life support.
“Everyone who knew Camden just adored his pretty blue eyes and his well natured, easy going spirit... He will always remain mommy and daddy's best friend,” his obituary read.
Theodore “Ted” McGee, also 2, died in February after the Malm dresser that was his room tipped over. It landed on the Minnesota boy while his parents thought he was napping.
“In his short life, Ted brought immense joy and love to his family and friends,” the child’s obituary read.
None of the chests or dressers in the three incidents had been anchored to the wall, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Two other toddlers were killed by toppling unanchored IKEA pieces other than the Malm products in incidents dating back to 1989, the CPSC said. A third child was killed by a unit not part of the Malm line, but it is unknown if the dresser was anchored or not, the CPSC said.
The Collas, Ellis and McGee families are suing IKEA over the safety of their furniture, alleging the company designed and sold dangerous and defective dressers.
Attorney Alan Feldman of Feldman Shepherd, the law firm representing the families, said in a statement: “We applaud the CPSC for taking a tough stand in support of consumer product safety by demanding that IKEA take concrete action to get these defective dressers off the market. It should not have taken repeated injuries and deaths over many years before IKEA finally responded to the potential hazard it placed in millions of American homes.”
The law firm has established a website for other consumers who claim to have also experienced tip-overs and “near misses” with the furniture to report their experiences.
A spokeswoman for IKEA declined to comment on Feldman's statement or the lawsuit brought by the families, citing the company's policy to not comment on pending litigation.
IKEA’s decision to recall the chests and dressers comes after the company launched an anchor campaign last year, urging consumers to fasten it to a wall to prevent it from tipping over.
More than 300,000 anchoring kits were sent out, IKEA said.
All consumers are entitled to a refund for the recalled chests and dressers, or can choose to receive a free wall-anchoring kit, for which “IKEA will provide a one-time, free in-home installation service, upon request.”
“Please immediately stop using any recalled chest or dresser that is not properly anchored to the wall and place in an area not accessible to children,” the company said.
A child dies every two weeks and a child is injured every 24 minutes in the U.S. from furniture or televisions tipping over, according to data gathered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
A full list of IKEA dressers and chests that have been recalled can be viewed here.