NEW YORK — Federal safety investigators continue to probe a popular line of Ikea dressers after a third toddler died under the furniture.
The scrutiny from government regulators comes after a Minnesota toddler named Theodore “Ted” McGee died when a chest of drawers from Ikea toppled over, crushing him.
“They didn’t hear the dresser fall,” A family attorney told the Philadelphia Enquirer. “They didn’t hear Ted scream.”
The popular Ikea Malm dressers can tip over if they aren’t anchored correctly to the wall, and come with warnings inside the box.
Two other young children died in similar incidents in 2014, investigators announced publicly in July 2015.
An Ikea spokeswoman offered condolences to McGee’s family in a statement, and reiterated that securing the furniture to the wall is vital.
“Ikea has been advised that the product was not attached to the wall, which is an integral part of the product’s assembly instructions,” she said. “We wish to emphasize that the best way to prevent tip-over of chests of drawers is to attach products to the wall with the included restraints and hardware per the assembly instructions.”
The furniture maker issued a repair program in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, providing free anchoring kits to anyone with children’s drawers taller than 23 1/2 inches or adult dressers and drawer chests taller than 29 1/2 inches.
It wasn’t a recall — the products came with the anchoring kits included. But after the deaths, Ikea wanted to provide free kits to the 27 million people who purchased qualifying chests of drawers or dressers. The free kit included replacement tip-over restraints, wall-anchoring hardware, instructions and warning labels to be affixed to the furniture.
In February 2014, a 2-year old boy from West Chester, Pennsylvania, died after an Ikea “Malm” six-drawer chest, measuring 48 3/8 inches high, tipped over and pinned him between the drawers and his bed. And In June 2014, a 23-month old child from Snohomish, Washington, died after a 30¾ inch Malm chest of three drawers tipped over onto the child.
In both cases, the drawers were not secured to the wall.
Ikea has sold the Malm chests that are part of the repair program since 2002 at prices ranging from $80 to $200.
Ikea and the CPSC said they had received at least 14 additional reports of Malm chests of drawers tipping over, resulting in four injuries. Ikea said it is aware of three other deaths since 1989 that were attributed to tip-overs from other models of Ikea chests and dressers.
According to the CPSC, a child dies every two weeks from furniture or TVs tipping over. Injuries from falling furniture occur every 24 minutes.
To receive a free wall anchoring kit, click here, call (888) 966-4532, or visit an Ikea store.