Ikea withdraws high chair over safety concerns

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Ikea issued an urgent recall of a faulty children's high chair last night after a child suffered bruised legs from falling through the frame.

The Swedish home furnishing store issued an urgent recall of the Leopard children's high chair, available in numerous stores across Europe for around £35 until yesterday, after 11 reports of broken snap locks. A statement from the firm said that the faulty components had already resulted in choking hazards and had caused one incident in which a child sat within the chair had fallen through the frame. The firm refused to answer questions about how many chairs were effected.

"Snap locks that secure the seat to the frame can break, making it possible for the seat to drop through the frame," the statement said. "Children can suffer injury to the head and other parts of the body from falls. Detached snap locks pose a choking hazard to children."

Yesterday the company expressed "deep regret" over the situation and has started an "urgent investigation" into the cause of the fault. It maintained that the product is tested in its own laboratory in Sweden against stringent European and US safety regulations. A spokesman for the company was unable to cite figures on the sales on the high chair, which she said has been removed from all stores across the UK and Northern Ireland.

The company is in the process of contacting customers whose details are on file as well as members of its Ikea Family loyalty programme. It has urged buyers that have not yet been contacted to return the chair to the exchange and returns department of any Ikea store in exchange for a full refund. Production of new chairs has been suspended until an investigation, which is expected early next year.

The recall comes just weeks after 15 British parents finalised plans to sue the pushchair manufacturer Maclaren over claims that their children's fingertips were severed in incidents involving its fold-up buggies. In November, Maclaren agreed to issue special "safety kits" for parents concerned about its pushchairs. The company previously insisted such action was not necessary in the UK, but consumer groups formed the manufacturer to reconsider.