The nation’s top consumer safety organization acknowledged a suburban Barrington mother Tuesday for her efforts to educate the public on the dangers of falling furniture.
Lisa Siefert of Barrington lost her two-year-old son, Shane, in 2011 after a dresser tipped over and fell on him. Siefert later started Shane’s Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed at educating families about attaching furniture to walls and working with furniture manufacturers to create safer products.
“These accidents can be prevented, so that’s my mission,” Siefert told NBC 5.
According to the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child is injured from falling furniture or televisions every 24 minutes and a child dies every two weeks.
The chairman of the CPSC mentioned Siefert and Shane’s Foundation during a press conference Tuesday in which it was announced that furniture giant IKEA had voluntarily recalled 29 million dressers and chests due to safety concerns. Three child deaths have been linked to IKEA furniture since 2014 after Malm dressers tipped over and crushed them.
“For Lisa and all the families, this is a big day and they’ve had a huge part in that,” said CPSC chairman Elliot Kaye.
Siefert’s dresser was not an IKEA model. Still, she called the announcement by IKEA and the CPSC a “wonderful thing."
“If you have this dresser at the home, not just parents, even if there’s no children in your home, I advocate to get the item out of homes,” Siefert said.
While the company said it believes chests and drawers are safest when attached to the wall, IKEA is offering full refunds or store credit to anyone who ever bought one of its Malm line dressers.
In a statement, IKEA said, “we want to help create a better life for our customers, and a safe home for families.”
Customers can take the furniture back to IKEA for a refund or store credit. If a customer wants to keep the furniture, they can contact IKEA for a free wall attachment device. Consumers can install the kit themselves or IKEA will provide a one-time, free in-home installation service, upon request. And consumers can reorder the kits throughout the life of their chest and dresser.
Kaye is calling on furniture manufacturers to accelerate bringing safer designs to the market.
“I know we can have a thriving furniture industry and safer children at the same time,” Kaye said.