The Ikea Dresser Recall

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This week, Ikea made a sweeping recall of its 29,000,000 dressers sold in America and Canada:

After the deaths of three toddlers, Ikea has agreed to immediately stop selling dressers that too easily tip over, and to offer full refunds to millions of customers who bought them.

The recall applies to 29 million dressers, some sold more than a decade ago, including the company’s popular, low-cost Malm line. By Monday, Ikea’s website no longer carried the Malm models blamed in the deaths, which fail industry stability tests.

Details of the agreement, which a federal agency source briefed on the matter called “unprecedented,” are scheduled to be made public Tuesday.

The accompanying photo of the bureau with all of its drawers pulled out was scary — it looked like it could easily tip over. And I vividly recall me making my husband bracket our bookshelves to the wall when our kids were young — it was just too easy for me to imagine them being crushed. And Ikea did tell consumers to secure its dressers to the wall — as should every furniture and TV manufacturer,  I guess.

That being said, I also wonder if any item not nailed down is ever safe enough. The pictures of the kids who died after the chests fell on them are heartbreaking, as are the quotes from their parents. And yet, 3 out of 29,000,000 = about 1 in 9,000,000. Is one death per nine million a truly reckless safety record? Does it prove the bureaus are outlandishly ill-balanced for not adhering to the American stability test?

I ask not out of any knee-jerk distrust of recalls, but out of real interest. An anonymous source from the Consumer Products Safety Commission was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday saying:

“It’s truly remarkable,” said the commission source. “A scope that we haven’t seen from the agency. It’s total capitulation by Ikea.”

“Capitulation” strikes me as an odd word. As if Ikea believed in its product but had to capitulate to our particular culture.

And today Reuters is reporting that Ikea will actually recall 36,000,000 dressers, responsible for a total of 6 children’s deaths since 1989 — that is, in  the past 27 years.

Six deaths in 27 years. That’s about one every four years from an item that is incredibly popular.

All of which puts me in mind of the crib recall a few years back. So in the interest of spurring a discussion of  what constitutes unacceptable risk (which isn’t just about furniture, it’s what we talk about all the time: Is it an unacceptable risk to have kids walk to school, considering every year some will die?), I am reprinting this piece of mine from 2010:

Some (Non-Mainstream) Thoughts on the Crib Recall

Hi Readers — I’m going to be blunt: The ban on the sale, resale and manufacture of all drop-side cribs does not make sense. Here’s why:

Over the past nine years, 32 children have died in these cribs. That is tragic. My heart sinks thinking about it.  But — and yes, there IS a but, and this “but” does not make me a heartless bean counter, or a crazed Free-Ranger who laughs in the face of danger (I am, at base, a nervous mom) — we are talking about roughly 3 deaths a year in a country where about 4 million babies are born annually. That is, about one death per million.

That does not prove that the cribs are UNsafe. It proves that the cribs ARE pretty safe. Safer than stairs (1300 deaths/year), safer than eating (about 70 kids under age 10 choke to death on food each year), safer than just sitting there and the next thing you know, you’re bitten by a venomous spider (5 deaths/year).

I realize that these stats are jumbled — they are not the deaths of infants, whose main cause of death is birth defects (5623/year) — but my point is that 3 deaths a year from any cause for any large population is almost something that statisticians call “de minimus.” Not that these deaths don’t count. Of course they do! But when a cause of death is that rare, you can’t base your life on it, or you couldn’t do anything. Go outside? No, there are spiders! Go downstairs? No, you could trip! Eat a sandwich? No, you could choke! (And then would you sue Wonder Bread?)

As for cribs, one reason the drop-side models seem so “dangerous” is because they are so popular. When you have millions of people using anything, no matter how safe, the odds of an accident go up because the odds go up with the numbers. That’s why it’s more likely an American will die in a car accident than a bucking bronco accident. Doesn’t mean that cars are inherently less safe than bucking broncos. The odds also go up because with millions of people assembling these things, some are bound to do it wrong, which seems to have been the case in many of these tragedies.

I don’t want to get into a huge discussion of crib design, but the recall list includes some of the biggest baby-product manufacturers around, like Even Flo and Child Craft. I am sure they tested their cribs because no company deliberately puts dangerous products on the market, if only because they know they could be sued up the wazzoo. And children’s product manufacturers know that better than anyone. Think of all the products recalled for tiny infractions, like a protruding screw….

These products are not “deadly.” There’s a difference between a deadly product (cyanide) and a product that sometimes results in death (a grape). We keep obscuring that difference, and congratulating the folks who act as if it is only a lack of vigilance that allows anyone to die of anything other than old age….

The truth is: I love the idea of the government keeping us safe from dangerous products. It is the definition of “dangerous” that has gone awry.

It’s hard to run any post like this, for fear of being seen as heartless, or anti safety progress, or simply a corporate shill. So I hope the discussion here will proceed about risk: how we perceive it, how we deal with it, and how our perceptions change the world our kids live in. – L.

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The dresser in question.

The dresser in question.

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69 Responses to The Ikea Dresser Recall

  1. Gary June 29, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    We have this dresser in the kids room, mounted it to the wall with the brackets that came with it so it would be secured.

    Jus’ sayin…

  2. Gary June 29, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    We also had a bookcase in their room from IKEA that we, you guessed it, secured to the wall also.

  3. Matt June 29, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    It’s interesting because almost every piece of furniture I’ve gotten from ikea has big warnings about having to mount things to the wall. Sometimes even laughably so, but never once have had a warning on non-ikea furniture and we even had a non-ikea dresser that “didn’t need to be anchored” tip over because all the drawers were opened at once. No one was hurt (and it became a learning experience for my kids) but there is no clamber for this major furniture manufacturer to recall anything.

  4. Mark Roulo June 29, 2016 at 11:39 am #

    Part of the problem for Ikea is that there already exist (and have existed for a while) safety standards for dressers. The standards are voluntary, so Ikea doesn’t *HAVE* to follow them … and random Googling suggests that Ikea doesn’t (currently) follow them.

    With even a handful of dead kids, this can easily turn into a PR nightmare (also, it sucks for the dead kids and their families). “There are safety standards in place! IKEA doesn’t follow them! IKEA doesn’t care about dead kids! Etc.”

    From a business standpoint, it sounds like IKEA screwed up. I doubt that the money saved by not designing to these standards is going to make up for the bad PR and maybe the lawsuits.

    Now … are the voluntary safety standards too stringent? Maybe. But the industry has an incentive to “over protect” just like the airline industry as a whole has an incentive to be over cautious with respect to commercial airliners falling down …

  5. Aimee June 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm #

    We had one of the Malm dressers (not the one pictures, the low one with 6 drawers) and . . . the design is really flawed. When I opened the drawers to put away laundry, it tipped over. If the cat jumped on top of it, it tipped over. If the clothing wasn’t perfectly balanced in the drawers, they would randomly fly open, tipping it over. I have lots of other dressers in the house – IKEA and non – and none of them need to be bolted to the wall in order to keep them upright. So I have no issues with them taking this one off the market. It’s one thing to have a wall bolt as an extra safety precaution in case of an earthquake or something, but you shouldn’t need one just to keep the whole unit from randomly toppling over.

  6. Stacey Gordon June 29, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    It’s not just dressers. Pretty much everything obeys the laws of gravity. If you climb on something that is not meant to bear your weight… it will fall.

    http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2016/03/tsa_two_young_boys_hanging_off.html

    This is all overblown due to jackpot lawyering. Why is Ikea even liable? Because the brand is recognizable. If they were killed by an old antique dresser, who would they have sued? It’s about having a lawsuit at the ready, not a dangerous piece of furniture.

  7. Rebecca June 29, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    I have this dresser… bought it for my first kid when they born almost 5 years ago. Currently using it for my second kid. It, and the bookshelves in the room, are all anchored as per the instructions. Do I anchor floor and table lamps? Nope. Stuff falls over. Kids crawl and pull up on everything, but anchoring dressers and bookshelves seems like a no-brainer. This isn’t IKEA’s fault. This could be any manufacturer.

  8. Sigh June 29, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    Just sold my MALM 4-drawer on Craigslist. Happy I did it 10 days ago and didn’t wait… Although maybe it would be worth more in the new MALM scarcity.

    I do recall that in the 8 years I owned this dresser, it taught me about its tippiness and I had to respect its boundaries. I taught my daughter these protocols for opening the drawers, and noted our other dressers were not tippy.

    So I agree, flawed design, but I’m torn about the recall, and recalls of items in general. Anything can kill you… Even water, even salt.

    Respecting the boundaries of things is easier with information. I guess issuing the information about securing these dressers for normal use, not just to safeguard against kids climbing on them, would, for me, have sufficed.

  9. david zaitzeff June 29, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

    In light of other persons who have had the dresser in question or similar dressers and their having reported problems, I am glad the dresser is being pulled. Some things are well-designed and some things are poorly designed.

  10. Helen Quine June 29, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

    I’m not certain on this. There are safety guidelines that would most likely have prevented the deaths (and all the injuries that also happen) and that most manufacturers have been sticking to for years. But would those guidelines have increased the cost to an extent that is unacceptable to many buyers? I’ve seen IKEA chests of drawers tip over with just the contents of the drawer as the weight. To me that’s a product that doesn’t do what it says. And the straps attaching them to the wall have been promoted more lately, but they make it a very different product from drawers you can just place in a room and I think they intentionally skirt over that. So I’m glad to see some pressure on them. Total recall I’m not so sure about though.

  11. SanityAnyone? June 29, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    Very interesting risk assessment primer regarding putting risk in perspective.

    I think it’s unfair the company had to pay to recall when parents installed them incorrectly, leading to deaths. On the other hand, a design change may be in order because, unfortunately, you can’t trust people to read and follow instructions. Or is it? If people buy kitchen cabinets and install them incorrectly and they fall on people, what do you do? Redesign the cabinets or let people deal with the consequences? Certain furniture requires special precautions.

    I think safety instructions should be clear, not excessive, and not buried in legalese. Then it is on us to pay attention.

  12. Jessica June 29, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    Looking at the list of recalled dressers, it seems like it applies to all of the ones they sell, which seems excessive. We have one of the Hemnes dressers and before we anchored it, it could be easily tipped. I also recall that the anchor system that was provided was not really easy to install, which is another reason a lot of people probably didn’t install them. Overall, I feel like people prefer easy (I usually say people are electrons, in that we like to follow the path of least resistance), we want lightweight, easy-to-assemble furniture that works well in our homes, but without having to do much beyond putting it in the room. As mentioned in the posts, drop-side cribs were ubiquitous because they were convenient (I’m only 5’2″ and I wish I could still get one), and that led to an increase in the number of absolute deaths.

    This also makes me think of playground equipment and how they say that the swings are the most dangerous piece of equipment. I think it was a comment here, but of course they are – something always will be, and since we took away the merry-go-rounds and teeter totters, something else will have to take its place. 30 million dressers are being recalled, but how long before something else becomes just as deadly with relative zero risk of death?

  13. Alanna June 29, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    This set me to wondering how many kids there are who might have had dressers and whatever fall on them without getting hurt. I had one fall on me once. I survived. Was it the dresser that was dangerous? It think not. I think it was the maker of the television cartoon that depicted a cartoon character pulling out the drawers of a dresser and climbing up them like stairs without a problem. When I tried this, of course, it didn’t work. I was unscathed, but it is a good example of why makers of children’s programs need to be aware of the fact that children imitate what they see on TV!

    From a mom who also survived falling from the top of a jungle gym.

  14. Dawn June 29, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

    I just bought and put up 2 of these dressers. No, I didn’t secure them to the wall. I’m 50+ and don’t have any plans on climbing them.

    Ikea went above and beyond – when I purchased the dressers, I was given extra mounting brackets and warned by the cashier that they needed to be secured.

    I’m very sad that Ikea is recalling them. I’m not returning mine. I feel they are fine. If I ever have grandchildren, I will make sure they don’t think the dresser is a climbing tower.

    Note: I did have one child who tried to climb her dresser by pulling out the drawers. Yes, it fell on her. Yes, she was bruised and sore. She also never tried it again. My heart does go out to the parents whose children died. But, as Lenore points out, these are very rare occurrences.

  15. lollipoplover June 29, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

    Do they have to send it back in a million pieces in a small, compact box?

  16. Dawn June 29, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    Oh, and the dresser my daughter tipped was not from Ikea, but Major Furniture Store.

    I see a lot of comments that the Ikea dresser tips easily. I haven’t found that to be true. I have overstuffed drawers, pull them out all the way, have more than one drawer open at a time. BUT…mine is sitting on hardwood floors. I suppose if it was on carpet, it could be different.

  17. LGB June 29, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    My landlord won’t let us use wall-anchoring kits. I’m going to get the refund for my Ikea dresser and just shell out for a better quality one, perhaps an antique. Newer furniture is a lot “tippier.” I don’t think that this dresser is going to kill my children, but I’m also not over-the-top hysterical anti-free-range for taking Ikea up on the recall.

  18. lollipoplover June 29, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    We bought Ikea furniture (a desk and table) when we were out of college and starting out. My experience putting it together was similar to this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wXjs6DXoeY

    I have a secret crush on Ryan Reynolds so seeing this intelligent guy go through this is why we always, always, always now buy assembled furniture. Preferably delivered because we’ve also tried to get it up a stairwell ourselves and we both turn into sailors and usually injure ourselves.

    We’ve had the same dressers for 15 years and never had them tip or felt a need to bolt them to walls. I don’t know about other families, but getting my kids to actually put their clothes away in dressers or even to go near that piece of furniture was like hot lava and fire ants. They climbed other things, believe me (and figuring out that they were using the vaulted ceilings of our foyer for american ninja warrior training with all the smudge marks up the walls was a bit horrifying) but besides sleeping, didn’t spend a lot of time tearing through their bedrooms or on furniture. We have trampolines, stilts, and trees to climb instead…that seemed to occupy them when they were climbing the walls and needed to play outside.

    Perhaps it’s the amount of time kids are spending indoors, trying to play and climb like their little bodies need to do that we should look at instead vs. the Attack of the Killer Ikea Dresser and massive recalls of common sense.
    I think it’s incredibly sad and devastating to loose a child in a horrifying accident.

    Before recalling all of the furniture for 3 lost children, look at the devastation of backyard pools and how many young lives are lost EVERY DAY across the world. Yet all of my kids are currently at a pool with their friends. How many young children lost their lives to guns accidentally? Where’s THAT recall?

  19. Christopher Byrne June 29, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

    I would like to clarify the misinformation about “voluntary” safety standards. It does NOT mean that the company does not have to follow them. It only means that they are not mandated by the government. This is a critical distinction, and I think most companies do a wretched job of communicating about these semantics. However, most packaging and instructions for products intended for children list all the standards to which the items comply, and those are very easily searched online.

    More importantly, a company does NOT have the choice of whether or not to comply. Toys, for example, have a whole slew of “voluntary” safety standards, but no one can sell a toy in the U.S. unless their product conforms to them.

    This is a critical distinction, and industries fight very hard to be self-regulating and self-policing. In addition, most retailers now mandate adherence to these standards and, in some cases related to toys, mandate that toys that have passed tests in other labs also be tested in the labs designated by the retailers as well.

    Ikea included brackets, but many people didn’t want to install them for fear of marring walls. However, following the instructions and taking all precautions recommended do make sense. Kudos to Ikea for instituting a recall. I’m not sure “capitulation” is the right word, as Lenore says, but it’s good for image as well as safety to do.

    And, remember, if you have kids in your home, they WILL climb on things. Walls can be spackled and re-painted. Kids not so much.

  20. John B. June 29, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

    This seems to be the mentality in American culture that if something bad happens to a child no matter how extremely rare that particular tragic incident was, SOMEBODY needs to be held responsible. SOMEBODY needs to suffer the consequences. SOMEBODY needs to be tarred and feathered. Look no further than the blogs of people who wanted the parents of the child ambushed by an alligator at a Disney resort thrown into prison. Despite of that being such an extremely rare tragedy. “The parents SHOULD have done this, the parents COULD have done that.” It’s so easy to judge when you have the full benefit of hindsight. I guess it helps us Americans deal with the sadness of a tragic situation involving the weakest among us.

  21. Papilio June 29, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

    “Is it an unacceptable risk to have kids walk to school, considering every year some will die?”

    Roughly this is why I’m a bit wary of Vision Zero. There will always be *some* victims, and the last thing you want to do is reach zero victims by bullying all the pedestrians and cyclists etc off the streets and bubble-wrap everyone in cars that can’t drive faster than, idk, 20mph. (Now that I write that down, it kinda sounds like the schoolrun…)

  22. Papilio June 29, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

    @Lollipoplover: Riiiiight… I feel like perhaps the guy in your video should have started with the Danish Ikea Practice Starter Kit:
    http://tinyurl.com/gv6mra3

  23. J Moseley June 29, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

    You know what? ONE child killed is too many! A friends 2 year old daughter was killed when a dresser crushed her. Not Ikea, by the way. This has ZERO to do with Free-Range and kids. Lives are changed forever when a little dies in such a horrific way. How about being sensitive to those families? I read this blog, but never comment. Today I couldn’t not!

  24. Ivon June 29, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

    If 6 deaths in 27 years from a product results in a recall, what do 6 dead children a day result in? Complete recall of all guns, right? Perspective, maybe?

  25. SteveD June 29, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    Here’s another way to think about it:

    How often do you question whether or not you should go to a hospital or doctor because you fear that you or your family member might die if you go there? (not if you don’t go………..If you go!)

    My guess is most people don’t hesitate. They just assume the medical system is where you go for experts who might save your life.

    The Starfield Report tells us something different. (Yes, I’ve posted this before, but it bears repeating for those who don’t know.) This is not new information.

    One good place to read about it is here:
    https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/the-starfield-revelations/

    Jon tells us:

    Every year in the US there are:

    * 12,000 deaths from UN-necessary surgeries;

    * 7,000 deaths from medication errors in hospitals;

    * 20,000 deaths from other errors in hospitals;

    * 80,000 deaths from infections acquired in hospitals;

    * 106,000 deaths from FDA-approved correctly prescribed medicines.

    The total of MEDICALLY CAUSED DEATHS in the U.S. every year is 225,000.

    That’s 2.25 MILLION deaths per decade.

  26. Jen June 29, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

    The recall is actually for almost all of their dressers; it started with the MALM line and simply exploded from there. I have (3) of the dressers on their very long list of dressers that I have now had since 2003. They have survived (2) moves and being completely overstuffed, drawers open, etc. I never recall every worrying about them falling on me (their bookcases on the other hand I might be worried about). I laughed yesterday with hubby that we could get new dressers because they will not only pay me back FULL price of those dressers but will come and remove them from my house for FREE. Usually just to get IKEA to bring them to your house (unassembled) is $100. I get we should worry but really….whoever thought that a dresser made following lego directions was “ok” to allow your kid to climb on?!

  27. Vaughan Evans June 29, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

    I feel that the biggest mistake-is for mothers with children to go to work.

    Nobody seems to appreciate the role of being a mother, homemaker, and wife

    It is because women have been treated in a degrading way that many women and girls are too hard on themselves-and to members of their own sex.)
    Right now there are huge waiting lists to get into infant daycare-and before and after school daycare.
    -It might be cheaper to pay a good mother-to stay at home-than to defray money for childcare.
    -Before and after-school day care-and before and after school day care-is expensive. It costs money(in big cities there are space constraints.

    -Daycare workers are paid very poorly, There is a high turnover of staff.
    The parents who raised my generation(I am 67-was born in 1949)-made a gret mistake.

    They felt that since they had “cone without”for so long wanted their children-to have everything they missed.
    -University education, opportunites to play organized sport.

    -In the 1930’s children did not have all THAT bad a time
    Children enjoyed a large number of simple pleasures.
    They climbed trees jumped rope, played hopscotch and jacks-search and chase games-and a large variety of informal games-you can play with a football, baseball, or basketball

    -The Feminist parents are making the same mistake-as did the parents who raised my generation(the hippie generation)
    -They feel that since they were treated condescendingly (from 1945-1970)that they want to OVER_COMPENSATE.)
    To a certain extend this was good,.
    There are more sports opportunities for girls(and for boys who are not proficient at sports
    (There are competitive and recreation leagues.)
    -However, these leagues are high-key. Where they require chauffeuring, billeting, and huge expenditures-in registration fees, sports equipment, and uniforms

    (It used to be that children’s sports were low key. You went to a neighbourhood park-for your Little League.
    -In the 1950’s A Canadian breadwinner could support a family.
    -This is because we Canadians were content to accept a lower standard of living-than those of south of the border.
    Then came television.
    People were conditioned to believe that they must attain an American standard.
    -As a result, Canadians hourly wages-went up.
    -The Americans and Canadians consume more in resources-in proportion to their population-than many other countries.
    Even in the less wealthy parts-of Canada and the United States-to standard of living is much higher than in most of the Third World.
    In many Third World countries girls cannot go to school. They must carry water-for domestic purposes.
    -Parents are running themselves ragged-in chauffeuring children- dozens-or even hundreds of muiles away-to sporets.
    -Women are under considerable pressure-to coach their daughtes-(They want cgirls to be coached-by women.

  28. lollipoplover June 29, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

    “You know what? ONE child killed is too many! A friends 2 year old daughter was killed when a dresser crushed her. Not Ikea, by the way. This has ZERO to do with Free-Range and kids. Lives are changed forever when a little dies in such a horrific way. How about being sensitive to those families?”

    Child accidental deaths ARE horrific, especially for the families. How about we address the ones that happen so much more frequently? Guns, drownings, car accidents. These get little attention or pictures in the news, but kids killed by furniture do. It makes no sense. Look at all of the deaths of children from guns:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/10/14/people-are-getting-shot-by-toddlers-on-a-weekly-basis-this-year/

  29. Theresa June 29, 2016 at 3:26 pm #

    It so dumb that they have to recall all the dressers because the parents won’t anchor the stupid things to the wall. If they are having trouble with the instructions telling you get to go to the Lowe’s or Home Depot. I’m sure there is a help number with the instructions. The hardware stores would be glad to here you get the dressers anchored.

  30. Warren June 29, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    J Moseley

    You need a reality shot.
    The only way to guarantee that your child will never die a horrible death is to never have a child in the first place.

  31. Warren June 29, 2016 at 3:32 pm #

    Christopher Byrne

    Walls can be spackled and painted? Not ours. We have never anchored anything to Tha floors or walls. Much easier and cheaper just to teach em not to climb on certain things.

  32. John June 29, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

    Of course there can be regulations that are over the top, but of course it is a myth that the government over-regulates corporations. Corporations will always put profits over safety, whether in food, automobiles, clothing materials, furniture. In general the government only acts as a facilitator to help the corporations avoid situations that will get them into a lot of lawsuits.

  33. Esther June 29, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

    We are quick to jump on risks like these and demand action and yet won’t do a thing to try to prevent the deaths of children who die from accidental gun deaths. In 2015 alone, 83 children died because other children pulled the trigger. That’s just the small percentage of kids accidentally killing kids. Our priorities are way out of whack.

  34. Laura sauter June 29, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    We can’t have common- sense gun control but we can regulate the hell out of dressers, by god!

  35. Workshop June 29, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

    J Moseley, so you don’t drive your children anywhere, right? Never allow them to be in a moving vehicle?

    I suggest you use more logic. I know fear is a wonderful motivator, but basing life based on fear is a really bad idea.

  36. K June 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

    In the question of what constitutes unacceptable risk, risk is never the only element. It’s a risk vs reward equation. We accept the risk of kids walking to school because think they get something out of it that makes the risk worth it. We come to with a different conclusion when the risk is greater (eg younger kids or busier roads) or the reward less. What are we getting out of these dressers that makes them worth the risk? Probably not much, especially if they’re as poorly designed as so many people in this thread are indicating.

  37. Renee Anne June 29, 2016 at 5:03 pm #

    We’ve had the dressers in the recall. We have other dressers from Ikea (and plenty of other furniture from there). Every single kit for dressers, bookshelves, TV stands, anything that stands upright, basically, comes with a bracket (or two or more) to bolt them to the wall. The brackets are also sold individually in case you want more for an item or you misplace one (when you move, for instance….don’t ask me how I know, I lost so many things when we moved). The brackets are included for a reason: USE THEM. It’s not rocket science. I live in an earthquake zone. Almost everything is bolted to the walls (exceptions being our dressers in our closet and things that sit relatively low to the ground (buffet, TV stand, etc.)). I also have small children, the younger of them is a climber. You’re damn right I bolt things to the wall!

    I find the recall silly, honestly. While the deaths are tragic, they were also avoidable if the instructions had been followed (i.e., bolt the dressers to the wall!). The Ikea directions pictorially emphasize that items need to be bolted to the wall. I don’t know of any other furniture company that has that in their directions for use.

  38. J.T. Wenting June 29, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

    I have that exact model dresser in my house, have had it since 2007. It’s never shown signs of tipping over.
    Maybe I’m just smarter than Americans, filling the bottom drawers with heavier items (though I never did that consciously, it just turns out that way, maybe because it’s been drummed into me from childhood to do things that way).

  39. m June 29, 2016 at 5:45 pm #

    J Moseley, do you own a car? Do you have a bathtub?

    Top two ways children die in the US. Car accidents and drowning.

    If “one child killed is too many”, as you say, all parents should immediately ditched their cars for public transportation and remove the bathtubs from their homes.

    I feel sorry for parents who have had their children killed by ANY method or accident or illness. It’s horrific. But the “one child killed is too many” is an emotional statement that doesn’t bear up to what parents actually choose to do. Because parents DO choose to drive their kids around in cars, give them baths, and take them swimming. DESPITE the risks. Go down to the beach and see how many parents let their kids run around and play in the water without life jackets. Which is much more dangerous than an Ikea dresser.

  40. elizabeth June 29, 2016 at 6:23 pm #

    To those of you bringing gun control into this, the regulations are already so strigent its hard to get a gun. Trying to remove guns from the general populace will NOT EVER IN A MILLION YEARS prevent tragedy. There are other ways to get guns, and you would see that trying to take away millions of guns from RESPONSIBLE owners will NOT work out well. Its irreaponsible idiots who leave a gun with an unattended child who was never taught proper safety. That is probably one in every 100,000 gun owners. No, less than that. If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have them. The crime rate (and death rate) would skyrocket. Banning guns doesnt protect anyone. However, training from the time theyre old enough to pull the trigger WILL SAVE LIVES. THAT is proper gun control.

  41. Nicole R. June 29, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

    “In the question of what constitutes unacceptable risk, risk is never the only element. It’s a risk vs reward equation. We accept the risk of kids walking to school because think they get something out of it that makes the risk worth it. We come to with a different conclusion when the risk is greater (eg younger kids or busier roads) or the reward less.”

    Excellent point! (and on the topic Lenore asked us to keep to.)

    I definitely don’t think the average person (and I include myself here) asses risks exactly accurately. I think we often give more weight to personal experience and anecdotal evidence than to the actual numbers, and I agree with the above, that we take into account potential benefits as well as risks.

    I also think “normalcy” comes into play – the number of times we’ve done something successfully makes it seem safer. For example, don’t statistics say flying is safer than driving? But because many people drive so often and fly so rarely, flying seems like a bigger deal, and makes them more nervous.

  42. MichaelF June 29, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

    Maybe we can recall the parents who bought these items and failed to secure them. It’s why we child proof, and you can do that to match the needs of your child.

    Childproofing should be the responsibility of the parents, not the company that made something that failed to be secured.

  43. Dave June 29, 2016 at 6:57 pm #

    I have one of these, and it, like all Ikea dressers and bookcases (I have several), came with wall attachment brackets and prominent instructions and a strongly worded suggestion that they be used. Perhaps Ikea wanted to be seen as “doing the right thing” or maybe it was the usual over the top lawsuit that made them do it. If you choose to not use the supplied brackets and your child is injured or killed as a direct result of your negligence, I can’t see how that’s Ikea’s fault in any way. My visiting 2yo granddaughter tried to climb a small unattached bookcase, but as soon as it started to move she jumped back. I’d already cautioned my son and daughter in law about the unfastened furniture. We made it a teachable moment for both the 2 and 5 year olds by showing them all the tippy stuff in the house. They seemed to get the message, and the 5 year old announced she’d keep an eye on her little sister. No problems since.

  44. dancing on thin ice June 29, 2016 at 7:14 pm #

    Regulations (and life) should not be based upon absolutes.
    X # failures per 1,000,000.
    Put warning labels on food accidentally exposed to trace amounts of nuts in processing instead of a full recall.
    Tasty and nutritious nuts are mainly a concern to those with allergies.

    I worked in a well known music venue that served alcohol.
    We were a bigger target for compliance raids due to a higher capacity than a bar across town caught with 100 underage kids out of 200 in attendance.
    Liquor control would make a big deal if we didn’t catch 100% but not note we confiscated the fake ID from a politician’s daughter.

    Imagine if the the TSA was held to a zero tolerance standard.

  45. bmommyx2 June 29, 2016 at 7:25 pm #

    It’s for reasons like these that I now view most if not all recalls as a joke. I suspect that these Ikea dressers are not any less safe than any other dresser on the market, but since they sell more & don’t change their products as often the have more deaths for one item. We live in a backwards mixed up world where a handful of deaths or injuries result in major actions being taken, while thousands or more are injured or die as the result of other products that go ignored.

  46. Jessica June 29, 2016 at 7:49 pm #

    Really good point,K, about risk vs reward.

  47. bluebird of bitterness June 30, 2016 at 12:03 am #

    My first and second kids were not climbers, but my third one was. When she was about two years old, she decided to climb a very tall bookcase that was not anchored to the wall. Of course the whole thing came down, and the only thing that stopped my daughter from being crushed was a doorknob — the bookcase was right next to a door, and it hit the knob of the door on the way down, stopping it midway. It scared the heck out of everyone, but my daughter was not harmed, thank heaven. She’s 28 now, married, and the mother of a lively toddler who takes after his mum and loves to climb. The saga continues…

  48. Cinnamon June 30, 2016 at 12:24 am #

    If people want zero risk then the only way to do that is to not do that activity or thing.
    We all accept an about 1 in 10,000 death from car accident / per year.
    We are happy with that. we accept it.
    If / when someone dies of a car accident we all accept it. see: http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/mortality-risk

    “she died in a car accident” evokes little outrage generally it’s considered normal.
    the lifetime odds of dying in a vehicle accident is 1 in 113 people.
    That is very very high actually, the highest of all risks.
    and yet we generally “ok with it”. as a society.

    why do we apply different ratios to different activities and groups of people ?
    I guess it’s because we are feeling caring creatures not mathematical robots.
    That’s fine..

    Could I suggest this idea:
    establish an acceptable risk i.e. a risk that society as a whole is willing to accept .
    see: http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/mortality-risk
    for general insurance data risk assessments.

    then if the incidence of deaths deviates by that acceptable risk by more than X% or Y standard deviations we have a case for saying there is something wrong here.

    that is actually how insurance companies work it out.
    Is this spate of ‘incidents’ still within reasonable bounds.

    perhaps the issue is not risk, the issue is perhaps fear, fear of death, fear of mortality, and a kind of floating, unspecified anxiety , a kind of “Angst, fear and loathing” ?

  49. Abigail June 30, 2016 at 12:42 am #

    IKEA has also been a major promoter of anchoring shelves and dressers for the past year or so in response to these three deaths. This isn’t a new issue for IKEA, although the recall is.

    This is a weird intersect. While the numbers are easy to read – as in – this is super duper unlikely to occur to my kids…this is something so easy for me to control.

    Preparing for a mobile kid: move knives, anchor shelves and dressers they will climb on, shut bathroom door (because if have another full roll of unused tp in the toilet, so help me!!)…I can do that.

  50. James Pollock June 30, 2016 at 2:06 am #

    “That does not prove that the cribs are UNsafe. It proves that the cribs ARE pretty safe. Safer than stairs (1300 deaths/year), safer than eating (about 70 kids under age 10 choke to death on food each year), safer than just sitting there and the next thing you know, you’re bitten by a venomous spider (5 deaths/year).

    If you have tiny children, you are supposed to put up safety barricades around your stairs, cut their food into tiny bites, and keep the premises free of hostile life forms (spiders, snakes, heffalumps and woozles.)

    Legally speaking, products which are dangerous carry “strict liability”, meaning the provider of the product is liable for damages unless they can show that they have done everything they can to reduce the danger. (Except firearms, of course, which are exempted from products liability by Act of Congress.) Having a known defect in your product(s) go unaddressed is financially risky.

  51. Donna June 30, 2016 at 5:35 am #

    Several people here have posted that the dressers tip even during routine use. Furniture should not need to be anchored to the wall to avoid falling over during proper use. Seems like a product that needed to be taken off the market and redesigned several years ago.

    Also, the articles that I read said nothing about whether the children who died were climbing on the dressers or simply using them.

  52. Alx June 30, 2016 at 9:35 am #

    This is the second time a manufacturer is recalling a safe product due to user error. Not long ago, a bottle company recalled its product because mold can grow in the vavle if not cleaned regularly or if not taken apart, as per the instructions, when doing so. Soooo….how does the end user’s inability to follow instructions lead to a voluntary recall and refund?

    By this logic, I ought to stop maintaining the car because the maker will recall it because injury and death may result from my inaction, like unsecured dressers or improperly cleaned bottle valves. Now that’s a way to save on what is typically one’s second most expensive purchase.

  53. Berlinmom June 30, 2016 at 9:43 am #

    Interestingly I’ve just read in my German newspaper that there will be no dresser recall in Europe because it is sufficient for the safety standars here if Ikea tells you to secure the dressers to the wall. I don’t know if this tells you something about the difference between Europe and the US …

  54. Katie June 30, 2016 at 10:06 am #

    Just imagine if the automobile companies were held to these standards for creating SUVs and marketing them to insecure people. Oh wait they aren’t because we live in an oligarchy.

  55. K2 June 30, 2016 at 10:15 am #

    Well, I think that generally products in America have been cheapened and in some cases made less safe in the all important search for the dollar. Making the dressers more stable also doesn’t impede freedom, parental rights, or infringe on privacy. I don’t believe that the people at the top are always looking out for kids best interest. Cereal is a good example of where getting money by sellig sugar and artificial colors is more important than the kids health. I support the dresser recall, while I do not support many other changes that have been made in the name of childhood safety .

  56. Patricia Bowling June 30, 2016 at 10:33 am #

    I understand your perspective, but it’s important to note that, according to CPSC statistics, on average one child dies every two weeks from injuries caused by a television, piece of furniture or household appliance falling on them. Surely you would consider that far too many! (Also thousands of children are injured every year.) As a result of these accidents, furniture manufacturers voluntarily came together and developed a “consensus standard” in 2000 with the help of safety advocates and members of the CPSC. The standard requires chests and dressers to be constructed in such a way that they are stable, even if a small child opens the drawers and — worst case scenario — tries to climb. Further, the standard requires a permanent warning label inside a drawer that reminds parents to anchor the furniture. Further, the standard requires the piece to include tip restraints and instructions for installing them. Hundreds of furniture manufacturers comply with this standard. The stability criteria is the MOST important part of the standard. NO fatalities have been reported involving furniture that meets this standard — and there are millions of products in the marketplace constructed to the standard, including furniture in ALL styles and price points. What is the point of a consumer protection agency if it does not support basic industry safety standards by urging companies to recall non-compliant, unsafe products?

  57. Emily June 30, 2016 at 11:46 am #

    I have an old friend from high school who has four children–a boy who’s about ten or eleven, two girls, aged six and three, and another boy who was born a few months ago. The two girls share a room, and before the Ikea dresser recall, they had one, in between their two beds. After the recall, my friend’s “solution” was to take the drawers out of the dresser, and just stack them. It looks very messy, cumbersome, and even more dangerous than the “dangerous” Ikea dresser that used to be there. I’d have left the dresser as is, before I put free-standing stacks of drawers full of clothes, in a three-year-old’s bedroom.

  58. andy June 30, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

    We had similar dresser, but lower. Whether empty or full, it would tip over any time you opened multiple drawers. The drawers could easily open by themselves whenever you jiggled it just a bit. It did not required force or anything like that, you lightly placed hand on it to support yourself while standing and it would fall. It would easily tip over when only one drawer was out, if that drawer contained books and other drawers shirts and pants.

    Climbing furniture is red herring and basically amounts to assumption that when something bad with it happened, the kid surely did something inappropriate with the furniture. Quite unfair.

    It did come with bolts to be attached to wall and we managed to use them. However, they were extraordinary hard to put in and we were on the verge of giving up multiple times until we succeeded. Most IKEA furniture is easy to bolt to wall, this one was not. The bolts were on the place that was hard to reach and you could not see what you was doing. There was basically little hard to reach square hole you needed to fit hand and bolt through. I can see how someone less skilled would give up.

    I have no idea whether it was recall worthy and what not, but the product was less stable then is normal and was much harder to bolt then is normal.

    Besides, bolting assumes you are allowed to make holes to wall which we were and have necessary tools which not everyone has. I understand how this probably is part of “fair play” where you are supposed to research furniture on whether it is stable without bolting when you can not bolt. I am not saying widespread recall is super necessary.

    However, it was unstable to the unexpected point. I have seen whole houses full of furniture that was not bolted (and knew people who seen bolting as weird thing overly cautious people do – like when you bolt before baby you was seen as helicopter parent). None of that unbolted furniture was as unstable as this one. None of other IKEA furniture I have seen was as unstable as this one when not bolted – and they had exactly the same warnings on them. It would be quite easy to be surprised by that despite dresser having the same warning or assume there is no difference between this one and others.

  59. Papilio June 30, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

    @Bxmommy: “a backwards mixed up world where a handful of deaths or injuries result in major actions being taken, while thousands or more are injured or die as the result of other products that go ignored.”

    Yes, that surprises me every time… If a tree falls onto your house, is the first thing to freak out over really the loss of your internet connection?

    @Berlinmom: I think we DO know…

  60. Papilio June 30, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

    “an American-style media approach” ……now what would that be? https://twitter.com/fatimamanji/status/748243730327572480

  61. andy June 30, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

    @Papilio What works, works. And the fact is that emotions trump facts all too often, especially when supposed facts-giving experts were lying all too often, misleading/bluffing to get their way or just plain wrong.Not that it would be ethical or praise worthy to abuse that fact.

    Then again, those who are overconfident about their own rationality are usually not that. The more they praise themselves to be above emotions and “facts only dude”, the more likely they are just good at rationalizing and ignoring inconvenient portions of reality.

  62. Naomi Thomas July 1, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    I have always felt this way but never said it outloud for fear of seeming heartless. It is terrible that children have died, but…. well, I still have a drop side crib. And a malm dresser. (secured, at least)

  63. Ben Carter July 1, 2016 at 10:37 am #

    I heard about this. After the first death Ikea sent out hooks to secure the dressers to the wall and they’re in every pack since then. But I guess some people don’t care about safety features until it’s too late. I can’t blame Ikea. They took every reasonable precaution.

  64. JLM July 5, 2016 at 5:15 am #

    Self-confessed child endangerer here! I bought a Malm dresser to go with my drop-side crib when I set up the nursery. As a renter, there was no bolting of furniture to walls.

    Heck, I even used a padded change table top on top of the dresser to change the baby’s diapers!

  65. Lena G July 6, 2016 at 8:27 am #

    That story made me take a closer look at our dressers (not IKEA, not sure which make). My husband routinely leaves 2 or 3 drawers of his dresser at least half open, sometimes wide open. But that dresser is stable! I gave it a push in that half opened stage and it didn’t wobbly the tiniest bit. So it is possible to design a dresser that won’t topple over easily, and maybe Ikea needs to make it products safer.

  66. BL July 6, 2016 at 8:33 am #

    “Self-confessed child endangerer here!”

    By 21st-century standards, I spent my entire childhood endangering myself. Then again, I did knock a tooth out falling from my bicycle. I guess I should have bubble-wrapped myself, never ventured out of my bedroom, and I’d still have one more tooth.

  67. Kathryn Smith July 6, 2016 at 11:55 pm #

    I do not agree that the risks associated with product safety recalls should be assessed similarly to risks of the activities that I actually consider “free range kid” issues. I see “free range kid” issues as things such as playing unsupervised, staying home alone, walking to school, interacting with strangers to a responsible degree, and so on. The difference between those issues and the Ikea dresser recall is that there are clear benefits to those “free range kid” issues. In contrast, the manufacturing of a dresser that fails to meet generally accepted industry safety standards does not enrich children’s lives. A child who owns a dresser that is unreasonably tippy is not gaining skills that a child with a safe dresser lacks. Similarly, an infant with a drop side crib that has a higher chance of injuring them is not gaining certain benefits from that drop side crib that they lack from a safer model.

    A post such as this one seems to place Ikea dresser recalls in the same negative light as helicopter parenting. I see value in having my kids play at the park unsupervised (when they are older, I only have a toddler now). They can gain valuable life skills, learn how to assess risks on their own, learn about the natural world, etc. But I see no value in owning a dresser that is much more likely to tip and crush a child than any other dresser I’ve owned. I’ve interacted with these Malm dressers before. The drawer fronts are particularly heavy compared to the shallow, light weight body of the dresser. They are much more tippy than the typical dresser I’ve encountered in life.

    And for those who say that the recall is unnecessary because they would just teach their kids not to climb on dressers, that’s clearly not a sufficient way to protect a toddler from a dresser crushing them. Some toddlers are just climbers. You can tell a 22 month old not to climb 100 times, but she may still turn right around and do it the next minute.

    Anchoring the dresser and any tippy furniture is clearly the solution. It took reading the articles about Ikea dressers crushing kids for me to realize how quickly a young child cause a heavy item to fall and crush them. It hardly occurred to me before reading those articles. And when I did hear of the concept of anchoring furniture, it seemed like a major impact on my walls for something unlikely to happen. But I read about Ikea’s dressers. I went in my bedroom and pulled out a couple drawers in my own Ashley Furniture dresser. Then I put some weight on the second drawer to simulate a toddler standing on it. Sure enough it started tipping.

    These dressers may have only killed 3 kids in many years, but that is serious enough to warrant the recall. What is the downside?

  68. Anonymous July 9, 2016 at 10:39 am #

    It’s not just the Malm collection, any collection of furniture from any company, if your child decides to climb on them or start playing with the furniture, it will tip over or your child will get hurt… Does that mean IKEA or any company for that matter should they stop selling and just shut down ? No because then people wouldn’t have anywhere to buy furniture after that.. This is silly instead of blaming companies and causing them to discontinue their products maybe as parents you should be more aware of what your child is doing

  69. Warren July 9, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

    What it really comes down to is most people are careless and don’t think. Even the most basic understanding of physics tells you to load anything heavy on the bottom to light on the top. The lower the center of gravity the better. Goes for loading thousands of pounds on trucks to where you put what in a dresser.
    Counter weight and balance is just obviously way over most people’s heads.