By Alexandra Olson / Associated Press
NEW YORK — Ikea relaunched a recall of 29 million chests and dressers Tuesday after the death of an eighth child.
CEO Lars Petersson said Ikea wants to increase awareness of the recall campaign for several types of chest and dressers that can easily tip over if not properly anchored to a wall.
The death of a California toddler, who was found trapped underneath an Ikea Malm dresser in May, has raised questions about whether Ikea has effectively spread the word about the recall, which was first announced in June 2016. The Swedish retailer and the federal safety regulators are asking customers to take immediate action to secure the dressers, or to return them.
Petersson said Ikea has had an “extensive communication” campaign through social media, its website and television and print ads. The company emailed 13 million people about the recall two months ago, he said.
Still, he said heightening awareness of the recall is necessary “because we think that it’s so important to reach as many people as possible.”
Acting CPSC chairman Ann Marie Buerkle said that people who own the furniture can take care of any potential hazards by contacting Ikea.
The recall, which applies only to customers in the U.S. and Canada, is for children’s chests and drawers taller than 23.5 inches and adult chests and dressers taller than 29.5 inches. Customers should contact Ikea for a free wall-mounting kit. The company is also offering to send crews to attach them in the home.
Ikea is offering full refunds for anyone who no longer wants the furniture. Customers can bring them to a store, or Ikea will pick them up.
At least eight children under the age of three have been killed when an Ikea dresser fell on them, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The first death occurred 28 years ago and the others occurred after 2002.
The latest death was Jozef Dudek, 2, of Buena Park, California. The toddler had been put down for a nap when his father went in to check on him and found him under the dresser, according to details released by lawyers retained by the family.
Alan Feldman, one of the lawyers representing the Dudek family, said Ikea’s recall has been “poorly publicized” and “ineffective in getting these defective and unstable dressers out of children’s bedrooms.”
The same team of lawyers represented the families of three toddlers who died when Ikea dressers fell on them. Ikea reached a $50 million settlement with the families last December.
Petersson said that more than 1 million dressers of have been returned for a refund or have been secured to walls with Ikea’s help since 2015, when the company first offered free wall-mounting kits.
Buerkle said Ikea has “worked hard to make this an effective recall.” She said it presents customers with an array of options “and is as least burdensome to the consumer as it could be.”
Ikea said the recalled products are sold with instructions that they had to be attached to walls. Petersson emphasized the recalled units are safe when this is done.
The recall is for all Ikea chest and dressers that do not comply with U.S. voluntary industry standards. They included 8 million Malm chest and dressers that were sold from 2002 through June 2016.
Peterson said that Ikea has stopped selling products that do not adhere to U.S. voluntary standards.
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