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Product safety laws unleash unsafe furniture

CHOICE says Ikea must recall its children’s chests of drawers in Australia to protect consumers

29 June 2016

CHOICE is calling on the Swedish furniture giant Ikea to extend the recall of its MALM and other chest of drawers[1] to Australia following a warning overseas to consumers that these products pose a tip-over and entrapment hazard that can result in death or injuries to children.

"With 29 million products being recalled in the United States and Canada, there is no good reason why Ikea shouldn’t recall these products in Australia[2],” says CHOICE’s Head of Communications Tom Godfrey.

“The fact that Ikea is yet to announce a recall here says a great deal about the inadequate product safety laws we have down under.

“Consumers might be surprised to learn that currently there is no mandatory requirement for Ikea to sell safe products or notify the public when one of their products has resulted in a child being injured or hospitalised,” Mr Godfrey says.

Overseas Ikea has confirmed the recall affects children’s chests of drawers and dressers taller than 59.69 cm (23.5 inches) and adult chests of drawers and dressers taller than 74.93 cm (29.5 inches) that do not meet the performance requirements and were manufactured and sold through June 2016.[3]

“Ikea needs to recall these products immediately and alert consumers to the very real risk they present,” says Mr Godfrey.

“Worryingly, although Ikea’s instructions mention the foothold hazard and provide a bracket to attach the furniture to the wall, the screws/fixing devices are not supplied. Consumers shouldn’t assume the company has provided them with everything they need to keep their kids safe when using this product.

“This latest issue highlights some of the major improvements required to Australian Consumer Law this year to better protect consumers from unsafe products.

“Since 2011, companies have made 10,000 mandatory safety reports after their products injured a consumer, yet the information remains confidential. This vital safety information should be made public to alert consumers to the very real risks they face.

“This latest issue with Ikea is yet another example of why we urgently need to fix this, and we can do it by making it clear that suppliers of products have a legal obligation to make sure that the products they sell are safe."

To join CHOICE's fight to improve product safety in Australia sign up here to becoming a free campaign supporter: choice.com.au 

[1] http://www.ikea.com/us/en/about_ikea/newsitem/062816-recall-chest-and-dressers [2] http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2016/IKEA-Recalls-29-Million-MALM-and-Other-Models-of-Chests-and-Dressers/ [3] Op cit, Ikea.com