How IKEA develops safe products
How IKEA develops safe products
We want to create a better everyday life at home for the many people – and a safer life is a better life. Our entire business, from designers and suppliers to the co-workers in the stores, works towards creating a safer life at home for our customers. It is part of our DNA.
Our products are tested and verified in a very careful way. You can trust that before they are launched, every product complies with the relevant laws and standards in the market where it’s being sold – plus with our own requirements, that are often tougher than those imposed by authorities.
Safety is key in our product development process
Where should you feel safe, if not in your own home? That’s why safety is at the core of every stage of our product development – from product idea, through the design and development process, into the finished product we offer our customers. Our designers, product developers and engineers consider how a product is likely to be used – and abused – and test it accordingly.
“The goal is to make great and safe products for our customers.”
We’re life-at-home specialists
IKEA has 75 years’ experience in everyday life at home. We know life at home. Which means that we also know a lot about common hazards in the home, which has led to innovations and ways of working that help our customers create a safer life at home.
At IKEA, product safety risk assessment is a crucial part of the product development process. We make sure that each product is safe in itself, and also take the actual use of the products into consideration.
A global product safety overview
Customer feedback from around the world is continuously gathered to learn how people use and experience our products. All these insights are taken into consideration so that our product range can improve over time. One such example is cordless window blinds.
When we understood the potential safety risks of cords, we stopped offering them. Today, all IKEA blinds are without cords, or exposed cords. This is an example of how we eliminate unnecessary dangers at home through continuous testing and development of our products.
Baby and child product safety is a top priority
How many ways can a toddler use a toy...? Our job is to find the answer to that question, over and over again. Understanding and predicting the interaction between the product and the user is a very important part of the product development process.
IKEA children’s products are designed to be safe regardless of price level. When testing our products, we consider both intended and unintended use to identify and minimize potential safety risks, so they are safe to use for you and your family.
How do we know that a product is safe?
We evaluate safety, quality, and environmental impact in a wide range of areas, such as chemicals, fire, surfaces, corrosion, lighting and electronics, function and durability, washing and assembly. Here are some examples:
We work hard to make sure that our products are free from chemicals that can be harmful to people or the environment, and proactively phase out potentially harmful chemicals – often ahead of legislation.
When buying bed linen – to be used in contact with skin – or toys for the kids to interact with, you can trust that they don't contain any chemicals that are harmful to you or your children. Our bed linen, for instance, doesn’t contain toxic or allergenic dyestuffs, toxic solvents, formaldehyde or APEO.
Regardless of design and construction, to prevent tip-over of a dresser or chests of drawers, they need to be properly attached to a wall with the included restraints.
To make it easier for our customers to create a safer life at home, all IKEA storage furniture over a certain height include anti-tipping protection.
Holes, gaps and openings safety
IKEA has strict requirements on both components and finished products to make sure that all holes, gaps and openings are as safe as needed.
One type of product where this is very important, is bunk beds. The gaps in the guard rail must be small enough for you to not accidentally fall through them, but also big enough so that you don’t risk getting stuck with a finger or an arm while you sleep.
Small parts safety
Already in the development phase we make sure that IKEA toys for children aged three and under don’t contain accessible, small parts that can be swallowed or inhaled.
All co-workers who develop for children’s products receive training on children’s needs and development to make sure our products are safe in all stages of a child’s life and support children’s development.
Shear and squeeze safety
Furniture parts creating scissor-like movements when opening or closing them are always a risk – especially for children, as they can lead to serious limb injuries. That’s why IKEA has requirements for shears and squeezes, for example for our folding chairs. The components have to be separated to a certain degree so that a child that gets stuck with a finger can escape with a bruise, rather than with a broken finger.
IKEA has been one of the industry leaders in the LED revolution. Switching our home lighting range to LED technology has resulted in important benefits for our customers and the environment. But did you know that LED technology, with potentially high intensity of light, can cause damage to the skin and the eyes? That’s why IKEA tests all our LED products to meet the strictest safety standards, making sure they are safe to use.
“We’ve stopped projects in the concept phase because we can see that it’s not possible to make it as safe as we wanted.”
IKEA Test labs – an essential part of our business
We perform over a million product tests each year. The IKEA test labs in Älmhult and Shanghai are state of the art, with a combined test area of around 20,000 m2, where over 250 people work full time, making sure that our products are durable, sustainable and safe to use. In addition to our own labs, we work with several independent accredited test labs across the world.
All our products are evaluated and tested throughout their lifetimes to ensure that they continue to live up to our demanding standards. And if needed, we make improvements.