Swedish furniture company IKEA Group [IKEA.UL] is recalling almost 36 million chests and dressers in the United States and Canada but said the products linked to the deaths of six children are safe when anchored to walls as instructed.
The recall covers six models of MALM chests or dressers manufactured from 2002 to 2016 and about 100 other families of chests or dressers that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said could topple over if not anchored securely to walls, posing a threat to children.
"It is simply too dangerous to have the recalled furniture in your home unanchored, especially if you have young children," CPSC Chairman Elliott Kaye said in a statement on Tuesday.
Tipped-over furniture or television sets kill a U.S. child every two weeks, he added.
IKEA said that the recall was based on a standard applicable in North America for free-standing clothing storage units and that the products meet all mandatory stability requirements in Europe and other parts of the world.
"When attached to a wall the products are safe. We have had no other issues with that in any other country," said Kajsa Johansson, a spokeswoman for IKEA in Sweden.
IKEA said it had no details on potential costs stemming from the recall.
A recall summary from the company said that the chests and dressers are unstable if not properly anchored to a wall, posing a serious tip-over and entrapment hazard that could result in death or injury to children.
Two U.S. toddlers died in separate 2014 incidents when MALM chests fell on them. A 22-month-old boy was killed last year in a similar incident, which occurred after IKEA had announced a repair program including a free wall-anchoring kit.
None of the furnishings in the fatal incidents had been anchored to a wall.
IKEA had received reports of 41 tip-over incidents involving non-MALM chests that caused 19 injuries and the deaths of three children from 1989 to 2007.
As part of the recall, IKEA is offering refunds or a free wall-anchoring kit.
The U.S. recall covers about 8 million MALM chests and dressers and 21 million other models of chests and dressers. About 6.6 million are being recalled in Canada.
Ikea has sold approximately 147.4 million chests of drawers globally since 1998.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington DC and Mia Shanley in Stockholm; Editing by Dan Grebler and David Goodman)