Ikea, the Swedish furniture retailer, issued a recall of more than 29 million pieces on Tuesday. The dressers, designed for children, were partially responsible for half a dozen fatalities across the country and initiated a renewed debate about product safety.
The recall includes a series of dressers and chests that have been a part of the company’s retail inventory for many years. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission ruled the items were unsafe if they were not firmly anchored to a wall, and urged Ikea to move forward with a product recall.
Any children’s chest more than 23” tall or adult dresser more than 29” tall is eligible for compensation. Customers may ask for a safety kit that will anchor the piece, or they may ask for a full refund of the purchase price, though units that were purchased prior to 2002 are only eligible for a partial store credit.
Jamie S. Cogburn, a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer, sees the recall as a positive step in federal product safety standards. “The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s job is to provide continuous regulation of products and ensure the safety of the public. This latest ruling from the commission shows that the government is serious about addressing liability issues, even when companies try to hide behind product safety instructions.”
Ikea’s recall is just the first in what may be a series of furniture recalls in the next few months. Elliot Kaye, chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, issued a warning for furniture makers that the federal government would be more strict in its application of safety standards to furniture designs. The change comes after a recent study showed a child dies every 14 days from an unstable piece of furniture that toppled over.