• Sat, Dec 14 - 1:13 pm ET

Ikea Lamp With Serious Design Flaw Recalled After Infant Death

When my oldest daughter was a newborn we received quite a few gifts to celebrate her arrival. One of those gifts was an adorable Ikea SMILA lamp in the shape of a starfish. It was adorable, but there was a huge design flaw that I noticed almost immediately. The cord was meant to hang down the wall with the lamp itself hanging on the wall like a picture. If you placed the lamp anywhere near the crib then the cord would dangle precariously close to the baby and become a choking hazard. For something clearly designed for a kid’s room, I thought this was a huge design flaw.

Fast forward 10 years and Ikea has finally gotten around to recalling the SMILA lamps. This comes after 17-month old Daniel Madden, of Glasgow, Scotland became caught up in the cord and died this past October.

Unfortunately Daniel is not the only child to be put in danger from the product. A few years ago another toddler, this time an unnamed 15-month old, nearly died in a similar manner from the SMILA lamp. But it was Daniel’s death that finally prompted the furniture giant to recall the product, which has been on the market for over 15 years at this point.

What scares me is that for one thing, the designers of this product failed to see the potential for danger, especially considering that it’s meant for a child’s room. Also, it’s frightening that 23 million of these wall-mounted death traps have been sold worldwide. At least Ikea is taking this seriously (now). According to a spokesperson for the stores:

“IKEA urges all customers with a “SMILA” wall-mounted lamp – or any corded wall-mounted lamp – to check immediately that the lamp and cord are out of reach of children when in a cot or playpen and securely fastened to the wall. IKEA reminds customers that any corded product such as a window covering or blind can present a strangulation hazard.”

Customers are advised to NOT use this product any longer, if you own one, which I think is a no-brainer. You can contact Ikea to get a replacement product OR a repair kit here.

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  • Beckhole

    It’s the parents’ responsibility to make sure there are no dangling cords of any type near their baby’s crib.

    Going to have to start recalling a lot of things if people can’t think for themselves.

    • The Great Queen Spider

      Reminds me of those baby seats that you were supposed to have on the floor. Some people decided to put the infant in it on counter tops and tables, then they would fall and get hurt. Not wise

  • Lacey Whyte

    It’s terribly tragic but I feel like securing the cord to the wall is a no-brainer. This, to me, is kind of like the Bumbo seats being recalled because of the users disregard for following instructions.

    • keelhaulrose

      There was a story in the Chicago Tribune not long after the Bumbos were recalled. They said most of the injuries involving them involved people putting them on counters or tables with their kids inside, and the kids toppled right off and got hurt. I remember thinking people are idiots, that thing wasn’t that sturdy and it told you not to do that or your kid might get hurt. Then they interviewed a mom who put baby in Bumbo on her take, and said she’d keep doing it despite the warnings and statistics because it was easier for her. I remember wondering if you get a Darwin Award for knocking off your offspring in such a stupid way.

    • KarenMS

      That one always baffled me. Why does the bumbo need to be on an elevated surface? Why would anyone think to do that? I don’t get it.

    • Andy

      I will admit, when my daughter started solids I put her in the Bumbo on our dining table, because at six months she was so tiny the high chair tray came up to her armpits and she couldn’t eat. However, I was always right there with her. I think it’s when people put their kids in a Bumbo or another type of seat on an elevated surface and then walk away that they should be eligible for a Darwin award.

    • AugustW

      When my daughter was an infant and I needed to shower, I put her in her swingy thing on the (large) bathroom counter, because there wasn’t enough floor space. I am very thankful nothing bad happened.

  • Melissa

    I agree, I don’t really see how Ikea should be held responsible for a design flaw that at least one of those 23 million parents didn’t recognize on their own.

  • edith

    I think this might be one of the dumbest recalls ever- now, everything with a cord intended to be used around children needs to be recalled and destroyed! I certainly feel for the parents, but this really comes down to “user error”. It seems to me that a warning label reminding parents to either secure the cord or install away from cribs or beds, would suffice. I’m sire Ikea was pressured into issuing a recall but I have 2 of these lamps and when secured properly, work just fine. I also plan to continue to use them, as I have for the last 4+yrs. with no disastrous results.

  • Victoria Morningstar

    We have a few of these in home, one in each of the kids rooms. When we hung them, we made sure to put them up high, over their dressers so they’re not easily reachable. It just seemed like a bit of a no brainer to me, like having the cords for the blinds out of reach.

  • KarenMS

    1/23,000,000 is an incredibly small amount to claim that a product is deadly. I cry inside for this baby and his parents, but it was user error, not Ikeas fault.

    • KarenMS

      Thinking further, while there’s a good chance that the vast majority of parents who own this noticed the flaw and used the product safely, say 90%, then that still leaves *millions* who used it unsafely and still nothing happened. You can’t convince me this is a dangerous product.

  • Jessie

    I’m with everyone else on this one. While I certainly feel for the parents of the children involved in each incident, this feels more like a “user error” problem rather than a “product is deadly and should never be used by anyone, EVER, even if they have no kids, because cords are dangerous” problem. I just kind of feel like it’s a no-brainer that if you have a small child, and said small child has a penchant for grabbing at things (as all small children do), then you should either secure the cord to the wall with those bracket things they make for exactly that purpose OR hang it somewhere that allows the cord to run behind a heavy furniture object and thusly out of the small child’s reach. =

  • KaeTay

    I’m sorry but when I look at this lamp and read about the deaths.. it’s not IKEA’s fault it’s the parents. What moron leaves anything that is a choking hazard near their kids? abd even then you can use those chord things.. I don’t know the proper name for them but you can screw them into the wall or nail them. They are used for cable chords and such you can use them to secure stuff like this to the wall to prevent a choking hazard. It’s what we did with our surround sound and we also secured them so she couldn’t pull the chord and pull down two speakers (even if they are small) onto her head.

    I really do believe more and more that people who want to have kids should be required to attend classes and acquire some sort of license or certificate. Classes like how to handle the screaming, hair pulling, biting, pinching and other frustrations would be really beneficial and could end a lot of senseless accidental deaths.

  • Rebecca

    This was parental error, not Ikea’s fault. I feel badly for the parents, I really do, but like the deaths with venetian blind cords, some common sense is just needed. Keep all cords of all kinds away from the crib, end of story. I had a lamp like this when I was a young child, my father secured the cord to the wall to the extent that I couldn’t pull it away even if I tried. Like I said, common sense.

  • Justme

    I wouldn’t say that’s as much a “design flaw” as it was an “operator error.” Also…”wall-mounted death trap?” A bit heavy on the rhetoric there, aren’t we?

  • lin

    This is ridiculous. Yes, let’s recall everything that has a cord! We have one. We’ll keep it, on the wall, away from my son’s bed. Because I am not an idiot.

  • robin

    As you stated, they”ve been on the market for 15 years, resulting in two injuries. That is infinitesimal compared to bikes, ladders, lightning, anything! These recalls get more and more ridiculous

  • Madame Ovaries

    I saw the photo from this story and FLIPPED OUT because it is currently hanging in my 8.5 month old’s room. When I read the story, while it is tragic for the family that lost a baby, I don’t think I’m getting rid of the light just yet. It is OBVIOUSLY no where near his crib or anywhere he could get tangled in it because no doi. I guess when he is old enough to get out of his crib or bed but not necessarily old enough to not strangle himself, I will take it down. There will always be cords in the kid’s room though; the baby monitor camera at least will be there for awhile.

  • Janok Place

    Okay…. all lamps have hanging cords. Cords, strings, plastic bags, small objects… These are ALL dangerous for baby. Frankly the planet becomes a dangerous place at that age, I have a 17 month old daughter. Everything is a hazard. Nothing is within reach of her crib, and she is otherwise supervised. No parent is perfect, I’m sure there are instances I haven’t even realized she has been in danger but crisis has been averted one way or another. My heart bleeds for these parents, it could happen to *any* of us. *Everyone* makes poor judgement calls on occasion. This is just a series of unfortunate events, I’m sure they, like all of us, would have done everything possible to keep their boy safe. It was a tragic oversight, but IKEA is not responsible, although I do applaud them for taking responsibility regardless.

  • Kelly

    We have these. We put a cord protector on it and nailed that to the wall over the crib, so my daughter can’t pull it down. It’s kind of common sense – babies mess with ANYTHING around cribs, no matter what it is.

  • Guest

    A cord attached to a lamp is a “serious design flaw?” Let’s all give our heads a collective shake. I feel for the child’s parents – I really do – but one death and one injury in 15 years is hardly indicative of an inherently unsafe product. How many children die in vehicles each year? Backyard pools? From falls off of high surfaces? Suffocation? The list goes on…

  • Kay_Sue

    Yeah….this is one of those things that is on every single childproofing checklist you run across. I can’t see how it’s Ikea’s fault.

  • gnatselbow

    Or you could just not hang it over a crib, playpen, or one-year old. Yeah, we have this light too. We purchased it when our son was three and he likes being able to turn it off and on by himself. These are terrible tragedies, but some of this is just common sense.

  • Bria

    2 deaths in 15 years. I’m not at all convinced this is a dangerous product. I hate recalls like this because it muddies the waters and makes it hard for parents to know what the really dangerous recalls are. If you have a cord dangling near your child’s bed, you either did not know it was unsafe (which is not the products fault) or you knew it was unsafe and chose to do it anyway (again, not the products fault)

  • Simone

    We should also ban air because it can cause unpleasant burping when ingested in large quantities.

    I am so truly sorry for the parents of this child but please.

  • SA

    I have one of these…it isn’t IKEA, but it is a star lamp with a dangling cord. Put it across the nursery from the crib. Installed a hook. Lamp is unplugged and cord hanging up on hook unless being used (which is at night as night light). All of that without instruction on how to child-proof it. I’m surprised at this recall unless it was being marketed as a crib light?

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