IKEA pulled in $6 billion in U.S. sales last year. Crystal Ellis wants that number to be lower.
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The Seattle mom's 2-year-old son, Camden, was killed by a falling IKEA dresser in 2014, which has since been recalled by the company. Three years later, she requested to meet with the retailer's president, pleading for action to get the dresser out of other homes.
That meeting has not yet happened. And Ellis is not the only parent demanding it.
There have been at least 186 reports of Malm dressers tipping over, with 91 resulting in injuries. There are 113 more reports of other IKEA dresser fall-overs, resulting in 53 injuries. In all, eight children have died from the incidents.
FOX Business spoke to the moms of three of them.
Along with Ellis, Meghan DeLong and Janet McGee started the advocate group Parents Against Tip-Overs in the wake of their children’s deaths. Their goal was to get answers.
Ellis sent to IKEA’s president of U.S. operations over the summer and got a response in July: “Thank you again for your outreach," Javier Quiñones wrote, "and we would be happy to meet in person.” She said she never heard back about setting up a time and date for the meeting, though, but that she and the advocacy group kept asking.
This week, they gathered in Philadelphia where IKEA's U.S. branch is headquartered, hoping to convince Quiñones to meet with them there. That was unsuccessful, too.
“There were several back-and-forth emails,” DeLong explained. "We’ve made several attempts to reach out. It would have been a perfect opportunity for the company to meet with parents. But the response is always the same.”
Spokespeople for IKEA told Ellis that Quiñones won’t meet until pending litigation against the company is resolved. “We apologize this was not clear in the original letter,” Tracey Kelly, a corporate communications manager for the brand, said in a statement.
“Mr. Quiñones understands that families may be frustrated that the suggested timing doesn’t work. He looks forward to meeting once litigation has been resolved to talk about how to address this issue that impacts the entire home-furnishings industry.”
Quiñones took over IKEA's U.S. division in March, several years after Ellis’ son was killed, but previously held a similar role at the U.K. headquarters. The dressers remain available there.
IKEA said in a statement to FOX Business that it wants to help remedy the situation and is doing its part to get the word out to parents: "We are committed to raising the awareness of how to prevent furniture tip-overs ... through our 51 U.S. stores and on the IKEA USA home page, which received 327 million visits last year.
"After recent conversations with safety advocates, we have increased the cadence of our recall communication on social media. Our goal is to continue to work with all stakeholders — our customers, Congress, the [U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission] and safety advocates, to further reduce the risk of furniture tip-overs. "
McGee said dialogue is important.
“The one thing we want to walk away with is to collaborate with them, to help make this recall effective" and to get more dressers taken off the market. “There are millions of these still sitting in people's homes," she said. "They’re like ticking time bombs.”
IKEA recalled more than 29 million dressers in 2016 in an attempt to remedy the accidents and supplied one million anchoring kits to families with small children.
The recall, though, makes up for only a small percentage of IKEA dressers, and Ellis said many parents don’t know the product can potentially be dangerous since it can still pop up on platforms like Facebook Marketplace.
Of the 28,000 people injured in tip-overs each year, more than half are children, and a child dies every two weeks from falling furniture.
“I don’t get to take more pictures [with my son]. I don’t get to watch him learn to ride a bike, make his first friends, meet the love of his life, dance at his wedding and hold his children,” Ellis told USA Today Wednesday. “I don’t get to be a part of that because a manufacturer decided they were not obligated to make furniture that won’t fall over.
“The opportunity to look [IKEA] in the face and remind them of the impact on families is important to me. Maybe that conversation would remind them that if they don’t get these dressers out of homes, the result is more families like mine.”
IKEA said it's taken an aggressive approach to reach consumers who may still own the dressers, launching a national television campaign, plus in-store and online ads.
“We take the communication of this recall seriously and would certainly be interested in hearing what additional actions we can take to get the message out to more consumers.”
The moms want the same thing.