Ikea is urging people to stop using around 27 million of its dressers as a response to children getting crushed to death by them.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall* today, which affects 7 million of Ikea’s “Malm” model chests and 20 million other Ikea dressers:
Consumers should immediately stop using all IKEA children’s chests and dressers taller than 23 ½ inches and adult chests and dressers taller than 29 ½ inches, unless they are securely anchored to the wall.
To get around how flimsy its no-frills furniture can be, Ikea instructs people to bolt down many of its items with wall anchors. But with many renters worried about damaging walls that don’t belong to them buying the affordable furniture, the anchoring step is often ignored.
In 2014, two young children were killed when Ikea dressers tipped over on top of them. In both cases, the $80 to $200 dressers were not attached to the wall.
In a weird and distinctly Ikea-making-everything-as-convoluted-and-soul-torching-as-it-possibly-can twist, people aren’t supposed to return the recalled dressers. Instead, they’re supposed to proactively order or physically go pick up an anchor to attach the dresser to a wall, as USA Today pointed out:
While IKEA’s new repair program is considered a recall, consumers aren’t supposed to return the furniture. Instead, they should order or pick up a new free wall anchoring kit for the affected MALM chests and other IKEA chests and dressers.
So basically, 27 million of Ikea’s dressers are known hazards that can kill a child and the solution is hammering them into the wall, not returning them and giving people sturdier dressers less inclined to crush small people.
Correction 3:19 pm: I use “recall” throughout the post, but I was wrong. Ikea’s public relations director Mona Liss clarified that it is a “Corrective Action” in an email to Gizmodo:
Your headline refers to this as a recall – however, that is incorrect. IKEA has been working with the CPSC for six months on this announcement and it is a Corrective Action, not a recall.
I went off the categorization in the USA Today article instead of waiting for Ikea’s response. This was stupid/lazy/amateur and I apologize.