Consumers Corner # 41   …   Special Children’s Edition


1. Anchor dangerous IKEA furniture

At least eight children in the U.S. have been killed by MALM and other IKEA chests and drawers that tipped over and pinned or trapped them.

Some 17.3 million units of this dangerous furniture were sold, and are part of a recall by IKEA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Only about 1 million were either secured or had money refunded by IKEA as of November, 2017, says the Washington Post. So 16 million pieces may still be out there putting our children and grandchildren at risk.


Recalled dressers include a variety of sizes and shapes. See details below.


Look for: “MALM” printed on the underside of the top panel or inside the side panel.

The recalled children’s chests and dressers are taller than 23.5 inches; recalled adult chests and dressers are taller than 29.5 inches. They include the MALM 3-drawer, 4-drawer, 5-drawer and three 6-drawer models and other non-MALM models.

What to do if you own a recalled dresser

Go to the IKEA website right away and choose one of these options: Request a free wall-anchoring kit; Ask IKEA to anchor it free of charge; return the furniture for a store refund; or ask IKEA to pick up the furniture and give you a refund.

Call IKEA toll-free anytime at: 866-856-4532; or go to:

In the meantime, close off any rooms with this furniture and make sure your children cannot climb onto it.

BOTTOM LINE: I think getting under a 6% recall response from consumers about a subject that can kill their children is absurdly low. Personally, I think IKEA can do a much better job at promoting this recall. I also believe if someone in the family of the IKEA top execs saw their child die from one of these tip-over accidents, that they would take a lot more interest.

So I am making this special offer to IKEA:

Call me at 610-506-3024 or email me at With my background in direct response, I will create an urgent notice to parents affected – using direct mail, social media, digital ads and any other possible way to alert these consumers. I will do a lot better than 5 to 6%. And I will not charge a dime for my service

Come on IKEA. Do the right thing and publicize this dangerous problem to the best of your ability. Stop dragging your feet and let’s end these senseless tip-over children’s deaths.

Sources: IKEA, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington Post


2. Be a good example for your kids

Over half of parents in a recent survey by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing engaged in risky driving behavior in full view of their 4-10-year-old children.

This risky business included: talking on a cellphone while driving their children (1-in-2), reading text messages (1-in-3) and using social media (1-in-7), reports Rita Giordano on

What’s more, many did not use seatbelts themselves, did not consistently use child restraints or drove while under the influence.

“What we worry about is the modeling of unsafe driving behaviors and what that may mean for those young people as they become drivers later on,” says lead author Catherine McDonald.

Will your children imitate your driving behavior later on? You better believe it. One person I know taught his son to drive. The boy failed his first attempt to get a license. Why? Because he barely slowed down at stop signs, and didn’t come to a full stop.  Wonder where he learned that? The examiner failed him for what he called “the Philadelphia Slide.” His father and my friend now completely stops at stop signs – I hope.

The survey results were reported online in the Journal of Pediatrics.



3. Don’t leave your children or grandchildren in the car

This is no joke. It happens every year to parents, grandparents and others. Someone forgets a child or infant in the car. And in the summer heat, the child can quickly die. Animals, too. And the family is devastated.

Do what a woman in Ohio recommends after she became distracted, accidently left her infant in the car and the baby died. She started “Bag In The Back” and offers this tip:

When you put an infant or toddler into a car seat in the back of the car, put a cellphone, wallet, handbag, back pack, work computer, shoe or some other personal item back there that you need, too, so you can’t forget the baby.

Why not give it a try? After all, a child’s life could be at stake.

Source: Wall Street Journal


4. Teach your children financial literacy

Helping your children learn about money and finances is one of the most important advantages you can give them.

Why? Many of us adults don’t know as much about finances as we think. And that lack of knowledge can cost us dearly every day in higher costs for car loans, apartment rentals, car insurance and more.

In fact, the editors at estimate that a 30-year old with poor credit may pay $250,000 more in interest payments over his or her lifetime than someone with a really good score.

But financial literacy also helps our children choose investments, car payment terms, student loans and even retirement programs that make economic sense.

So make sure your children learn how to save, how to buy, how to evaluate risk, how to decide when and what to buy, how to pay themselves first and how to contribute to retirement savings automatically.

Help them become smart consumers. And who knows? You’re likely to learn something, too.

Some area banks and credit unions offer financial wellness programs through Clarifi, 1608 Walnut St., Philadelphia. Phone: 215-563-5665. offers budgeting and savings advice, credit scores and more. And Angel Rich, CEO and Founder of The Wealth Factory, has developed an app called Credit Stacker that helps teach you about credit and personal finance from birth through retirement. You can do this along with your children. How cool is that? says Google named it one of the top apps in the world. Credit Stacker reportedly was downloaded 200,000 times in the first two weeks. It’s available on both Apple and Google.




— AT&T  station gets new name, new look

The SEPTA station at the southern end of the Broad Street Line gets a new name August 14. It now will become NRG Station.

NRG, says, is a retail energy supply subsidiary based in Philadelphia. Eagles’ star quarterback Carson Wentz, NRG’s spokesperson for 2017, has agreed to extend his relationship as NRG Ambassador for the 2018-19 season.


— meterUp app now works throughout city

Drivers: you now can use meterUp to pay for parking at any kiosk or meter in the city, says the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA). That’s thanks to a successful pilot program in center city that began last December. In that time, the app has been downloaded 91,000 times.

With the app, you can add time remotely or stop your parking session early. If you arrange to go past the posted time, the rate doubles. If you go past it again, the rate can triple. After three consecutive times, you have to move your car. You do pay a 40-cent convenience fee per completed transaction for using the app. For more information, call 877-727-5303 or visit

You can download it through your IOS and Android smartphone.



Some Goldfish crackers and Ritz cracker sandwiches and Ritz Bits have been recalled because of salmonella concerns. You should not eat those products included in the recall.

For Goldfish details, call 800-679-1791 or go to:

For Ritz details, call 1-844-366 -1171 or go to:




The percent of people who began using  electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices – and were still smoking cigarettes a year later. So despite industry claims to the contrary, the products don’t appear to help most people stop smoking.

Source: Wall Street Journal and


Photo Credits

“MandAandT” flickr photo by Tudy shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license


Jim Murphy is a direct marketing copywriter who has run his own consulting business since 2004. For nine years, he wrote and edited “Choices,” an award-winning credit union magazine with a circulation of 80,000. Now a certified member and vice president of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides, Jim gives tours and has written more than 50 historical articles for both the Queen Village Neighbors Association magazine and the Society Hill Reporter.

Any comments made are Jim’s opinion, and not necessarily those of the Old Pine Community Center.




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