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Ikea to recall chests of drawers after child deaths

[WASHINGTON] Furniture giant Ikea said Tuesday it would recall its hugely popular Malm model of chest of drawers after six children were crushed to death when the dressers tipped over.

The recall affects 29 million chests of drawers sold in the United States, said Elliot Kaye, head of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"If you have, or think you have, one of these drawers... please act immediately," said Mr Kaye, speaking in Washington. "We're imploring you."

The recalled models are unstable if not properly attached to the wall, "posing a serious tip-over and entrapment hazard that can result in death or serious injuries to children," the CPSC said.

Customers can get a full refund or have Ikea personnel come to attach wall anchors at no charge.

The recall affects some eight million Malm chests and dressers, and 21 million additional children's and adult chests and drawers, all manufactured between 2002 and June 2016, Mr Kaye said.

A further 6.6 million of the units were sold in Canada, the CPSC added.

Mr Kaye said he commended Ikea for taking "this leading step for furniture safety."

A spokeswoman for the Ikea group, Kajsa Johansson, told AFP in Stockholm that the drawers "meet all mandatory stability requirements on all markets where sold," and said the bureaus were "safe when anchored to the wall" as instructed.

The Swedish group said six deaths had been reported in the past 13 years involving Ikea chests of drawers, all in the United States, including three since 2014. None of the chests had been anchored to the wall.

In 2015, Ikea launched a campaign in the United States and Canada to encourage owners of the Malm chests of drawers to anchor them to the wall.

The units include Malm three, four, and five-drawer units, as well as various other models. A full list of the affected furniture can be found on the website.