Ikea needs to get serious about putting consumer safety first, a coalition of consumer groups said today, following reports that Ikea has defied a court order related to the recall of 29 million dressers that followed the death of a two-year-old boy.
“Ikea sold millions of unstable dressers with a tip-over hazard that led to the deaths of at least six toddlers and continues to place countless children at risk. It resisted a recall for too long. And now it isn’t sharing internal records about these products,” said Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, and Kids In Danger in a joint statement.
Ikea chests and dressers are linked to six children’s deaths and 36 children’s injuries, the groups noted.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Monday that Ikea, which manufactures and sells its own furniture, had defied a court order that it turn over information to the mother of a two-year-old West Chester, Pa., boy who was killed by an Ikea dresser in 2014.
On Monday, the mother's lawyers asked Judge John Younge to fine Ikea $1,000 a day until it complies with his order, the newspaper reported.
The recall came only after two years of talks between the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Ikea.
Ikea first tried to address the tip-over threat in July 2015 by sending wall-anchoring kits to consumers, but the death of another child seven months later led to the June recall, one of the largest ever.
"Record of pushing back"
“While Ikea has been arguing that turning over the documents would harm CPSC’s recall process, we are concerned that the company’s record of pushing back against regulator and court requests to increase safety and transparency is putting consumers at risk. We urge Ikea to improve transparency and put consumer safety first,” the groups' statement said.
“Given the massive size of this recall and the lack of any data so far about how well it is working, we urge Ikea to work to ensure that consumers effectively remove the unstable dressers from their home as soon as possible and continue to cooperate with regulators to share all safety-related records about this hazard. This information could prove critical to motivating quick action and broader participation in the recall.”
The Inquirer reported that the records at issue include photos and videos of internal Ikea testing and “items that might shed light on how widespread a threat Ikea dressers have posed.” The company could face fines or other penalties for failing to comply with the court’s order to turn over the documents.
According to the CPSC, one child dies every two weeks and one child is sent to the emergency room every 24 minutes from furniture or TVs tipping over. Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, and Kids In Danger support the CPSC’s "Anchor It" campaign to minimize furniture and appliance tip-over hazards and urge consumers with recalled dressers to take immediate action to prevent a tragedy in their home.