For many families, IKEA is a name they trust for value and selection. If you have IKEA furniture in your home, you know that it has a distinctive flair that may provide just the right touch to your rooms. Unfortunately, IKEA and other furniture manufacturers have been under pressure for several years because of design flaws in their products that place children at risk of injury or death.
Parents with nanny-cams in their nurseries have captured disturbing footage of dressers, bookcases and other pieces of furniture toppling over onto their children. Despite apologies and recalls, the problem persists.
Anchors aren’t enough
When you bring home a piece of furniture, you probably follow the instructions for assembly to ensure the furniture will not pose a danger to your child. However, if the design of the furniture is inherently flawed, the furniture may fall over with minimal effort from a toddler.
This is what happens in Tennessee and across the country every 20 minutes. About 1,400 children end up in emergency rooms each year from injuries suffered after shelves or bookcases tip over onto them. Another 3,200 suffer injuries when dressers fall onto them. IKEA and other manufacturers urge parents to use brackets to anchor their furniture to the wall. More than 70% of consumers do not anchor their furniture for various reasons, including the following:
- Fear of damaging their walls
- Uncertainty about how to properly anchor the furniture
- Lack of knowledge that they should anchor the furniture
- Trust in the manufacturer to create sturdy products
However, even when you do anchor furniture to the wall, it can easily break loose and come crashing down on a child. One mother has video of a bookcase that fell despite its anchors. One anchor pulled loose from the wall, and the other broke off the bookcase, allowing it to drop onto her children.
What can you do?
Safety advocates say it should not be your responsibility to make sure the furniture you buy is stable. This should be the manufacturer’s top priority. Furniture that is not designed to resist tipping should carry much stronger warnings to allow parents to choose more stable options. While you wait for lawmakers to support such regulations, your child’s life may be in danger.
If your child has suffered injuries because an unstable piece of furniture toppled over, you may feel like you have no voice against a major furniture manufacturer. However, you may find that other parents are joining in class actions against certain companies to fight for stronger standards.