The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Swedish furniture company Ikea on Tuesday announced a joint recall of 29 million chests and dressers blamed in multiple deaths and injuries.
The recall includes Ikea children’s chests and dressers taller than 23.5 inches and adult chests and dressers taller than 29.5 inches that do not meet the performance requirements of the U.S. voluntary industry standard.
Six children aged three years old or younger were crushed to death by Ikea furniture and 36 others were injured, according to the CPSC. Ikea says the furniture is meant to be secured to a wall and that it is safe when properly installed, according to the New York Times. Customers can contact Ikea for a refund or free anchoring kit.
Ikea has long tagged much of its furniture with warnings to consumers that items must be secured to walls to guarantee safety, but that approach may have reached its limit. The dressers affected by Tuesday's recall have been under criticism for a while, and in fact were the subject of a less stringent recall last year that called for “repairs” and also recommended anchoring kits.
Ikea has previously said that its dressers are designed to meet European safety standards, not American guidelines, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The CPSC is now stepping up its scrutiny of the retailer and is contemplating higher safety standards.
“Consumers, especially parents with young children, need stable furniture in their homes,” CPSC chairman Elliot F. Kaye said in a statement. “I have seen first-hand that innovative furniture designs with enhanced stability are functional, attractive, and possible. Now is the time to embrace new, more stable designs and make these tragic tip-over fatalities a thing of the past. I am calling on the furniture industry to accelerate bringing safer designs to market. I know we can have a thriving furniture industry and safer children at the same time.”
Ikea also faces a series of lawsuits. “There is no reason for Ikea furniture to be so unstable and prone to tip over that it threatens the very lives of small children who have these dressers in their bedrooms," said attorney Alan Friedman, whose firm Feldman Shepherd represents the families of three boys killed when Ikea Malm dressers tipped over. "Ikea knows how to design and build safer products, and it’s time for this company to get its act together.”