Ikea, the world’s biggest furniture retailer, is recalling 29 million dressers and chests sold in the U.S. after the deaths of six children from tip-over accidents.
The Malm and other models of chests pose a serious hazard, and consumers were urged to anchor the items or return them, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Tuesday on its website.
The recall, one of the biggest ever in the U.S., comes after scores of accidents dating back to 1989. The Swedish company is closely held and controlled by the 10th richest person in the world, Ingvar Kamprad, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The company is offering a full or partial refund, depending on purchase date, as well as free anchoring kits, according to a statement.
The Malm line is one of the company’s more popular because of its affordability, said Poonam Goyal, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, adding the scope of the recall, dating back to products from 2002, means it will be costly.
“I don’t think it pulls their customers away from them for life,” Goyal said.
The agency warned that it would be scrutinizing other manufacturers.
The first death occurred in 1989 when a 20-month old girl from Mount Vernon, Virginia, died after four-drawer chest tipped over, fatally pinning her. The most recent was in February, when a 22-month-old from Apple Valley, Minnesota, was killed when a Malm six-drawer chest fell on him.
A total of 82 incidents had been reported, according to the CPSC. Ikea, known for its assemble-it-yourself furnishings, also put out a statement identifying six Malm dressers and other models.
Ikea “made an important commitment to us and the American public to sell in the U.S. only dressers that comply with the most up-to-date performance standards for furniture stability,” CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye said in a statement. “I fully expect all furniture companies to do the same. Those failing to do so should pay close attention to the details of this recall, as they should expect to be hearing from us. CPSC will seek recalls of other brands that pose an unreasonable tip-over risk to innocent children.”
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