-- At least six children have been crushed to death by toppling Ikea chests, prompting the voluntary recall of about 29 million chests and dressers sold by the popular retailer, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says.
“Enough is enough,” CPSC chairman Elliot Kaye told ABC News’ David Kerley. “These are inherently very dangerous and unstable products if children are around them.”
Ikea and the CPSC tell ABC that at least 36 children have been injured by Ikea chests and dressers, which are prone to tip over when they aren’t anchored to the wall. The deaths -- all children under the age of 4 -- date back to 1989 and are as recent as this February, the CPSC said.
The company is offering a refund or repair kit for affected dressers, including the MALM and other styles, the CPSC said. Further details were not immediately available. Furniture manufactured between 2002 and 2016 will entitle customers to a full refund; consumers can receive a partial store credit for items manufactured before 2002.
Upon request, the company will send a crew to install the wall anchor for customers who don’t want to do it themselves, the CPSC said. In the meantime, the CPSC is encouraging consumers to store the dresser where children won’t have access to it. At least four of the deaths were the result of unanchored chests.
Jaquelyn Collas, of Pennsylvania, found her 2-year-old son pinned between his bed and an Ikea MALM dresser in February 2014, she told ABC News.
“I couldn't tell if there was a heartbeat, you know I was so afraid,” she recalled.
Despite her attempt at CPR, the toddler was pronounced dead a few hours later, she said.
Collas is suing Ikea, claiming the company failed to warn consumers that the “front-heavy” dressers were potentially dangerous, according to the amended complaint, filed in May 2015.
"I didn't know to anchor my furniture and, in my mind, I feel that we really shouldn't have to,” Collas said. “Get rid of it, it’s dangerous, it’s a really dangerous product.”
“You turn your back for a second and that furniture goes over and it can be deadly,” Kaye echoed. “If it is not anchored, it's not safe.”
In its answer to Collas' suit, Ikea denied any allegations of manufacturing defect or inadequate warning.
"Defendants expressly deny any alleged negligence and carelessness, failure with regard to inadequate warnings or instructions, and the allegation that the dresser was improperly designed, improperly manufactured, defective, unreasonably dangerous or unsafe."
In a statement regarding the voluntary recall, Ikea said that "a child in the US dies every two weeks from furniture, appliances, or TVs tipping over," stressing that it instituted a repair kit program last year "to communicate the importance of wall attachment, which resulted in the distribution of 300,000 kits to consumers who had not used their original hardware."
"Since then, we have been in close contact with the CPSC to evaluate the success of the repair program and the impact it is having on consumers’ actions. We are announcing this recall today given the recent tragic death of a third child," the statement said, referring to the number of children killed by MALM dressers. Three other children have been killed by other-style IKEA chests.
"It is clear that there are still unsecured products in customers’ homes, and we believe that taking further action is the right thing to do," Ikea continued in the statement. "We will continue to work collaboratively with the CPSC on tip-over prevention, development of the ASTM standard, and innovations that will enhance product safety and further reduce the risk of tip-overs."