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Ikea safety warning over 'Malm' dressers after two children are crushed to death

By Claire Cromie

Ikea has issued a safety warning over one of its most popular items of furniture after two toddlers were killed.

The children died after "Malm" dressers tipped over and fell on top of them.

The Swedish retail giant is now warning customers they must use a wall-anchoring kit with its chests of drawers and dressers.

More than 65 million Malm chests of drawers have been sold worldwide since sales started in 2002 - including thousands sold at the Belfast store.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), said consumers should immediately stop using Ikea chests and drawers over a certain height unless they are securely fixed to the wall.

This includes:

  • Children's chests and dressers taller than 23.5 inches
  • Adult chests and dressers taller than 29.5 inches

The CPSC and Ikea received a report that in February last year a two-year-old boy, Curren Collas, died after a Malm six-drawer chest tipped over and fatally pinned him against his bed, the statement said.

Curren's mother Jackie has since campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of the dangers of falling furniture.

She went into Curren's bedroom to dress him and discovered his body lying underneath the overturned the dresser.

'I started screaming. His head was trapped between the edge of the bed and all of the weight of the dresser was laying across his neck,' she wrote on a dedicated Facebook page.

'I tried ripping the dresser off of him. It took me a couple of tries to pick it up. I tried to pick him up like I normally do, but his little body and neck was so floppy.'

Ikea also received a report just three months later, in June last year, that a 23-month-old child from Washington died after he became trapped beneath a three-drawer Malm chest that tipped over.

Neither chest had been secured to the wall.

Belfast woman Anita Stupele said a chest had toppled in her child's room: "Thank God when the chest of drawers tipped it was stopped halfway by radiator and baby wasn't harmed. Scary! But good they raise awareness to prevent accidents."

Ikea and the CPSC had also received 14 reports of tip-over incidents involving Malm chests, resulting in four injuries.

Since 1989, Ikea was aware of three additional reports of deaths from tip-overs involving other models of its chests and dressers, the CPSC said.

Both the CPSC and Ikea said consumers should move unanchored chests and dressers into storage or other areas where they cannot be accessed by children.

The Malm range of chests have been sold since 2002, with the smallest two-drawer chest selling in the UK for £39.

Ikea UK and Ireland customer relations manager Gerard Bos said: "Product safety and quality are top priorities for Ikea.

"Furniture tip-over is a serious safety risk in the home, however Ikea chests of drawers and dressers are safe to use when assembled according to the assembly instruction and attached to the wall using the restraints provided in the packaging of these products.

"Ikea is committed to raising awareness of the hazard of furniture tip-over and in many Ikea markets, including the UK, we are running a safety awareness campaign called "Safer Homes Together - Secure It!" in order to raise awareness of this issue.

"As part of the ongoing campaign, Ikea US, in cooperation with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, yesterday announced a free wall-anchoring kit programme."

He said Ikea already provided restraints and instructions with all floor-standing units, and warnings about their importance were included in the assembly instructions.

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