If you have the modern-looking Ikea furniture model known as the Malm dresser, please take note: If you have children in your home, the only safe way to continue using your dresser is by anchoring it to the wall so it doesn't tip over.
A 22-month-old Minnesota toddler was crushed to death in February when the unstable dresser toppled over onto the boy while he was supposed to be napping. Theodore “Ted” McGee’s parents say they never heard the dresser fall, or their son scream.
Seven months after the cheap-chic Swedish retailer disclosed that many of its dressers are at risk of falling over if not properly anchored to a wall for stability, federal safety regulators are investigating Ted McGee’s death, as he’s the third child to be crushed to death by a Ikea Malm dresser since 2014. More than 27 million Ikea dressers sold to consumers are at risk to tip over if not properly anchored. About 7 million dressers included in the repair kit program are Malm dressers, and 20 million are other Ikea chests of drawers, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Toddler Curren Collas of West Chester, Pennsylvania, died in February 2014 after being pinned between his bed frame and six-drawer Ikea dresser. Just four months later, 2-year-old Camden Ellis from Snohomish, Washington, died after his three-drawer Malm dresser fell on top of him on his first night in a toddler bed instead of his crib.
The Malm six-drawer dresser in question that fell on Ted McGee and Curren Collas retails for $179 in the U.S. and comes with a written warning about serious and fatal tip-over injuries. Online, Ikea has added a warning of the tip-over risk, with instructions how to prevent it from happening.
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But despite Ikea putting the word out about the danger and offering repair kits to any consumer who requests them, many are still unaware of the risk for injury due to the dressers toppling over. Ted McGee's parents purchased the dresser in 2012, before Ted was born. They were unaware of Ikea's repair program.
Ikea says it has sent out more than 300,000 anchoring kits to consumers whose dressers were part of the repair-program recall. Anchoring hardware has long been included in the box with all Ikea dressers, but many consumers fail to use them. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, tip-over accidents lead to dozens of deaths and more than 38,000 emergency room visits in the U.S. per year. Most of these accidents involve unsecured dressers and TV sets.
An Ikea spokesperson told the Inquirer that it plans to expand its campaign "to ensure that this important message reaches even more people," but the company did not elaborate how it would be expanding efforts to reach consumers who have purchased the products at risk for tipping over.
If you own an Ikea dresser, please check these very important safety guides to ensure this doesn't happen in your home:
- Register to receive a replacement hardware kit to secure your Ikea chest or dressers
- Read Ikea's wall anchoring guide and other safety tips to prevent furniture tip-over accidents
- See all current Ikea recalls here
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