Ikea is recalling yet another product that could tip over and injure—or kill—small children. The mega-retailer has recalled 800,000 Kullen dressers after receiving six reports that they have tipped over, causing injuries in some cases. The dresser was sold at Ikea stores between April 2005 and December 2019, and cost about $60.
It’s a disturbing, if sadly not surprising, development for the Swedish company, which has a long, ugly history of creating furniture that is unsafe for children. Last year my colleague Katharine Schwab described the millions of products—ranging from high chairs to crib mattresses to swings to costumes—that Ikea has recalled after major and minor injuries to children. In 2016, Ikea recalled 29 million Malm dressers after six children died when the furniture toppled over. And in January, Co.Design reported that Ikea had agreed to a $46 million settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit brought by parents of a toddler who was killed after a Malm dresser tipped over on the child. Ikea’s pet furniture has also led to the death of animals in the past.
In this case, Ikea is warning customers that they if they have not properly anchored their Kullen dresser to the wall, they should discontinue using it immediately, and either return it or anchor it. Last year, Ikea launched an app, along with an ad campaign, inviting consumers to learn more about how to install furniture safely, including room-by-room tips based on a child’s age. The company also sends free kits to anchor furniture to the wall or provide in-home installation for free.
When we reached out to Ikea, a spokesperson pointed us to a statement from the company. “The Kullen 3-drawer chest has been on the market for more than 14 years, and more than 4 million pieces have been sold around the world,” it reads. “We have not identified any reports of serious injuries involving the Kullen 3-drawer chest and it is safe to use if attached to the wall, per the assembly instructions and using the included wall-attachment kit.”
But the question remains: Is the company doing enough to stop its furniture from hurting children? Given its recent history of recalling dressers that have proven to be unsafe, why isn’t Ikea’s design team investing more in creating stable furiture that is less likely to tip over?