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Safety advocates: Hazardous IKEA furniture remains in homes two years after recall

CHICAGO (June 28, 2018) – Far too many of IKEA’s recalled, hazardous dressers remain in consumers’ homes, safety advocates said today on the second anniversary of the largest product recall in history. Since the 2016 recall of millions of IKEA Malm dressers and similar units for their propensity to tip over onto children and crush them, there has not been nearly enough action by IKEA to remove hazardous furniture from homes. Kids In Danger (KID), Consumer Federation of America (CFA) Shane’s Foundation, Consumers Union (CU) and parents Jeremy and Janet McGee[1] continue to call on IKEA and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to take further action to get more of these dangerous products out of homes.

Last year, a ninth child death led IKEA to reannounce the recall of its dressers. In addition, the number of units said to be affected was revised downward, from 29 million to 17.3 million. But information on the effectiveness of the recall has been hard to obtain. IKEA has not provided any updated recall information dated after January 1, 2017, despite requests from our organizations. The latest recall response rate information from IKEA includes the following:

  • 175,000 refunds provided to consumers;
  • 268,000 consumers provided with anchoring straps following the recall; and
  • 439,000 anchoring straps sent out by IKEA prior to the dressers’ recall, in a program that began in July 2015 following the deaths of two children.

Although this recall response information from IKEA is not current, most recall responses occur soon after the recall announcement. Therefore, it is unlikely that up-to-date response figures are much higher than the data provided in January 2017.

“Overall, IKEA’s information indicates that consumers have been left to fend for themselves. At best, only around 1% of consumers have had the unstable furniture removed and been issued a refund. Many of those counted as ‘participating in the recall’ were issued anchoring straps prior to the recall. And in the cases where IKEA has sent consumers straps, it has no way to know if the furniture left in homes actually has been anchored,” said the advocates.

In addition to withholding information from the safety advocates, IKEA has also kept consumers in the dark. Following the recall in 2016, IKEA only posted the recall on its Facebook page a handful of times, along with occasional general reminders to consumers to secure their furniture. Most of the company’s messages have relied on IKEA’s broader “Secure It” campaign to anchor all furniture – not specifically letting consumers know that the unstable furniture they had in their homes has been recalled.

“All companies must publicize a recall of hazardous products as widely as possible, especially since the CPSC does not always require companies to notify consumers directly. Every means possible must be used to reach consumers who are using this unstable dresser and may be unaware of its history or the danger.”

“Our groups call on IKEA and the CPSC to provide updated data on the effectiveness of the recall, a complete accounting of action taken to date to alert consumers to the recall, and a renewed concrete effort by both to reach consumers who currently possess this deadly furniture and urge them to remove the recalled product from their home and get a refund. In addition, IKEA and the CPSC should join our organizations in working for a strong mandatory standard that covers all clothing storage units, includes requirements for test weights that reflect the risk of injury or death to all children under six, and better replicates real-world use,” the advocates added.

[1] The death of the McGee’s son, Ted, led to the 2016 recall.

For the full statement, click here.