Ikea's Dresser Recall: 7 Tips to Prevent Furniture Injuries

An image of one of the recalled Ikea dressers, called the MALM 4-drawer dresser.
An image of one of the recalled Ikea dressers, called the MALM 4-drawer dresser. (Image credit: Ikea)

A new recall of topple-prone Ikea dressers highlights the hazards that everyday furniture can hold for children, but there are a number of things parents can do to make their homes safer.

This week, Ikea recalled 29 million chests and dressers, because they were unstable and prone to tip over if they were not anchored to a wall, thus causing possible injuries to children, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The dressers have been linked with the deaths of several U.S. children, who suffered fatal injuries after the furniture fell on them.

But falling-furniture hazards aren't limited to the current recall. In fact, more than 25,000 children are injured each year from furniture that tips over, and 430 children died from falling furniture between 2000 and 2013, according to a 2014 report from the CPSC. 

The kind of furniture that causes the most fatalities appears to be televisions: They are responsible for 65 percent of child deaths linked with falling furniture, according to the report. Falling chests, dressers and bureaus cause about 20 percent of deaths, and falling appliances (such as stoves) cause about 7 percent of deaths. [9 Weird Ways Kids Can Get Hurt]

In many cases (about 34 percent), the individual who was injured was trying to climb up the furniture before it fell on the child. A smaller percentage of deaths was caused when the child used force to topple the furniture, or when the child was playing near the product, the CPSC report says. (In a large fraction of cases — 41 percent — it's not clear exactly what happened before the furniture fell on the child.)

Here are 7 tips for preventing these injuries, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and Nationwide Children's Hospital:

·         Place TVs on top of low and sturdy furniture that's intended for this purpose, like a TV stand or media center.

·         Do not put TVs on top of furniture that's not designed to hold a TV, including dressers and bureaus. (A 2015 study found that serious head injuries linked with falling TVs most often happen when the TV was put on furniture that wasn't intended to support the screen.)

  • Securely anchor all dressers, bookcases and TVs. You can do this by securing furniture to a wall stud.
  • Don't place a TV near the edge of a stand.
  • Make sure that objects like toys and remote controls, which a child might try to grab, aren't put on top of the TV or other furniture.
  • Use draw stops on dressers to prevent the draws from being pulled out all the way.
  • Make sure that electrical cords aren't within a child's reach. The child might try to pull on these cords, which could topple the furniture.

Original article on Live Science.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.