Ikea is reminding people about its recall of 29 million Malm chests and dressers after news Tuesday that another child, died earlier this year when one of them fell on them. It's the eighth such confirmed death over the years.
The death of a California toddler, who was found trapped underneath an Ikea Malm dresser in May, has raised questions about whether Ikea has effectively spread the word about the recall, which was first announced in June 2016.
The Swedish retailer and the federal safety regulators are asking customers to take immediate action to secure the dressers, or to return them.
"We take our role as a responsible retailer seriously and today's reposting of the ongoing recall will remind consumers to participate in the recall program," Ikea Canada told CBC News in a statement.
About 29 million of the items are being recalled worldwide, including 4.5 million in Canada. But the numbers suggest the vast majority haven't been returned yet. Ikea Canada says 111,642 chests of drawers have been returned in Canada since the recall in 2016, and an additional 192,941 units have been secured to the wall, using wall-anchoring kits provided to customers free of charge.
Ikea is offering full refunds for anyone who no longer wants the furniture. Customers can bring them to a store, and Ikea will pick them up from U.S. customers, but in Canada the company offers a less iron-clad guarantee. "If a customer is having difficulty anchoring their product to the wall and can't get to an IKEA Canada location to return their chests of drawers, they can contact us and we will talk through to find out what the best resolution is for that customer," the Ikea Canada spokesperson said.
"We wish to emphasize the best way to prevent tip-over of chests of drawers is to anchor products to the wall with the included restraints per the assembly instructions," the company said.
As long as the chests and dressers are properly secured to the wall, there is no issue. The problem is that most people don't secure them. And the model in question has been around for decades, dating back to before 1993 when the first confirmed death occurred.
"We wish to emphasize the best way to prevent tip-over of chests of drawers is to anchor products to the wall with the included restraints per the assembly instructions," Ikea said in the statement.
At least eight children under the age of three have been killed when an Ikea dresser fell on them, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The first death occurred 28 years ago and the others occurred after 2002.
The latest death was Jozef Dudek, 2, of Buena Park, Calif. The toddler had been put down for a nap when his father went in to check on him and found him under the dresser, according to details released by lawyers retained by the family.
Alan Feldman, one of the lawyers representing the Dudek family, said Ikea's recall has been "poorly publicized" and "ineffective in getting these defective and unstable dressers out of children's bedrooms."
The same team of lawyers represented the families of three toddlers who died when Ikea dressers fell on them. Ikea reached a $50 million US settlement with the families last December.