The affordable home-goods mecca Ikea is introducing a potentially life-saving repair program after two children died last year from being smashed beneath toppled sets of the company's MALM dresser drawers.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Ikea, announced Wednesday in a press release that the company will now offer a free wall-anchoring repair kit for the MALM 3- and 4-drawer chests and two styles of MALM 6- drawer chests. The offer is also available for all children’s chests and dressers taller than 23 ½ inches, and adult drawers taller than 29 ½ inches.
The kit includes wall-anchoring hardware, assembly instructions and safety warning labels to stick onto the furniture. It also contains tip-over restraints (special straps and hooks that prevent the structure from falling all the way to the floor) for owners who choose not to secure dressers to the wall, according to the release.
IKEA commercial manager Patty Lobell told USA Today in a statement that the company is "deeply saddened" by the deaths and hopes "our efforts prevent further tragedies.”
The program is a response to the deaths of two children caused by MALM chests tipping over and landing on them. In February 2014, a 2-year-old boy from Pennsylvania died after being pinned against his bed when a 6-drawer chest collapsed on him. A 23-month old boy from Washington became fatally trapped under a 3-drawer chest that fell over just four months later. In both tragedies, the drawers were not secured against the walls, CNN Money reported.
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The two organizations are urging people to get in touch with Ikea online, or call (888) 966-4532 for a free repair kit.
A child dies every two weeks and a child is injured every 24 minutes in the U.S. from furniture or TVs tipping over, according to the CPSC, which has launched a public safety campaign to educate parents about the dangers. Two-thirds of the incidents involve toddlers.
As part of the "Anchor It" campaign, the CSPC has also published online instructions and tips for anchoring other types of furniture to prevent accidents. They advise mounting or anchoring televisions, as well as top-heavy furniture like dressers, to the walls to be safe.
CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye acknowledged in an interview with USA Today that not everyone can install anchors, either because there are problems with the walls or they live in a rental unit, and called on Ikea and the rest of the furniture industry to find ways to design more stable furniture.