|Ikea pulls crib pillow from shelves pending investigation|
BY DINA O'MEARA, CALGARY HERALDMARCH 15, 2010COMMENTS (46)
STORYPHOTOS ( 1 )
'Len' pillow has been sold at Ikea stores since 1996. Nearly 12,000 Len pillows were sold last year alone, and this is the first time the company has received a complaint about the item.
Photograph by: Screen grab, Ikea.com
CALGARY — Parents across Canada are responding to a Calgary mother's alert about a potentially faulty Ikea crib pillow that apparently unravelled, nearly strangling her 15-month-old.
Melinda Gombert said she woke last week to a screaming toddler and was horrified to find her son Lucas with a thread from his crib pillow wrapped around his neck three times and around his waist once.
"No parent wants to walk into their kid's room and see a string of any kind wrapped around their child's neck," Gombert said Monday. "It was terrifying. I was scared, and then I was angry, and I don't want it to happen to anyone else."
Ikea has since pulled the "Len" crib pillow from all its stores in Canada while it investigates.
The drama began when Gombert removed Lukas' pillowcase after he threw up on it. During the night, she said, the pillow's side seam unravelled, winding around the toddler's throat and waist as he tossed and turned in his sleep.
The next day, she said, Lucas had a red welt around his throat for hours. Gombert, a professional photographer, took a picture of her son's neck and sent it with an e-mail to Ikea and Health Canada.
"We are taking the situation very seriously," Ikea spokeswoman Madeleine Lowenborg-Frick said. "We are investigating the product, and in the meanwhile, because the safety of our customers and anyone that comes in contact with our product is of the utmost importance to us, we've pulled the product off the shelves across Canada."
Gombert also posted the incident on an Internet parenting forum, which saw more than 10 pages of discussion threads within days.
Filomena Lowry was shocked after reading about the forum — a similar incident had happened to her toddler, Jack, last January, she claimed. In her case, she said, the Ikea pillow unravelled about four months after buying it, with the thread wrapping around the 24-month-old's arm.
At first, the mother from Ajax, Ont., dismissed the incident as shoddy merchandise, and her mother restitched the pillow. But Lowry said she decided to speak up after seeing it had happened to others.
"When I read her experience and saw the pictures of Lucas' neck, it made me realize the potential of what could have occurred," she said. "That made it important for me to raise the issue with the manufacturer."
Lowenborg-Frick called the incident isolated, adding the company welcomed people to come forward if they have come across similar problems.
"If the product is found to be unsafe and there is a flaw in the design, then we would certainly recall it immediately," she said.
Nearly 12,000 Len pillows — which retail for $12.99 — were sold last year alone, said Lowenborg-Frick, adding this is the first time the company has received a complaint about the item.
The item has been sold at Ikea since 1996, and is only recommended for children 12 months and older.
"I would like the problem fixed," Gombert said. "I would really like Ikea to follow through their investigation and hopefully find sufficient evidence to either have the pillow remanufactured in a safer manner or just pull them all together."
In Canada, recalls are negotiated and voluntarily agreed on by the company responsible for the product.
A Health Canada spokeswoman said Monday the department is aware of the matter, but not in a position to discuss the details at this time.
"(Health Canada) is reviewing the situation carefully, and will not hesitate to take any action that may be necessary to protect the health and safety of Canadians," Stephane Shank said in an e-mailed statement.
"Health Canada would like to remind consumers that soft mattresses, pillows, comforters, stuffed toys and bumper pads should not be used in cribs."
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