Safe Kids suggestions for avoiding tip-over hazards
• Mount television on the wall
• Place heaviest items in lowest drawers
• Install child-proof stops on drawers
• Anchor any tall chest of drawer or heavy dresser to the wall through a stud
Child safety experts across the continent are reminding parents of a deadly hazard to children that might exist at home.
An IKEA furniture recall following the deaths of several children trapped under fallen chests and dressers has triggered reminders to families of common tip-over hazards and the importance of securing tall furniture.
IKEA voluntarily recalled MALM children’s chests and dressers taller than 23.5 inches and adult chests and dressers taller than 29.5 inches that do not meet the performance requirements of the U.S. voluntary industry standard. This includes the 3-drawer, 4-drawer, 5-drawer and 6-drawer models sold through June 2016.
The company asked customers to immediately stop using any recalled chest or dresser that is not properly anchored to the wall and placed in an area not accessible to children.
Kim Martin, coordinator for Safe Kids Gainesville-Hall County, said there haven’t been many tip-over injuries in North Georgia, but it has been a big problem nationally.
“Usually, there’s a TV on top of the furniture,” Martin said. “So the kids open the drawers and climb up the piece of furniture to adjust the TV, video game system, whatever. If it’s not anchored to the wall, it’s top-heavy, especially when you pull open those drawers. Then you’ve got a toddler climbing to get to the top, and it will come over on them.”
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, an average 13,000 children in the U.S. are injured each year from tipping furniture, and, on average, one child dies every three weeks from the hazard.
The organization has safety tips to avoid this, including mounting televisions on the wall, placing heaviest items in the lowest drawers and installing child-proof stops on drawers.
Martin said any tall chest of drawer or heavy dresser should be anchored to the wall through a stud. She said it’s important the anchoring system is used through a stud, because anchoring through sheetrock “is not going to prevent anything.”
“You can get those anchoring systems at any Home Depot, Lowe’s, or home improvement store,” she said. “They also make a special kind of anchor for the TVs, and those can be found at Best Buy or electronics stores.”
According to the Associated Press, on July 22, 2015, IKEA announced a repair program that included a free wall-anchoring kit.
But two fatalities involving these MALM chests and dressers occurred before the announcement of the repair program. In February 2014, a 2-year-old boy in West Chester, Pa., died after a 6-drawer MALM chest tipped over and fatally pinned him against his bed. In June 2014, a 23-month-old boy from Snohomish, Wash., died after a 3-drawer MALM chest tipped over and trapped him.
Another child died in February of this year, when a MALM 6-drawer chest fell on top of a 22-month-old boy from Apple Valley, Minn.
The AP reported IKEA received reports of 41 tip-over incidents, resulting in 17 injuries to children.
Between the U.S. and Canada, more than 14 million of these chests and dressers were sold.
For more information on how to receive a refund or free wall-anchoring kit through the IKEA repair program, call 866-856-4532 or visit www.IKEA-USA.com/recallchestsanddressers. For more information from Safe Kids, go to www.safekids.org.