At IKEA, we aim to have a world-class level of knowledge of children, their development, and needs. In building knowledge, we increase our confidence in creating and producing products that are both fun and safe.
It is important for us to know how our customers experience and use the products and solutions for children in the home. We have many systems in place for gathering customer feedback on quality and safety. For us, both the perceived risks and the actual risks are important. We want our customers to feel safe, as well as to be safe. From our customers around the world, we also learn about how cultural differences affect the way products are used and experienced.
Regularly, we even involve the children themselves in our product development. We invite them to our so-called Kids Labs, where we are listening carefully to the experts of play. We also have an international online panel with children aged 8-14 that we send questions and tasks every month. All our work together with children is carried out with a set of strict ethical guidelines to safeguard them and their privacy.
In some areas, we need in-depth scientific facts and statistics. In those cases, we are happy to receive support from external test laboratories and evaluation agencies.
Our products are designed and tested to comply with all applicable safety regulations in the countries where the products are sold. In the case of many of our children's products, we go above and beyond the legal requirements. For example, we have phased out any chemicals that are suspected of causing medical reactions or being harmful. Colourants that have been identified as carcinogenic are banned from use in our products. This is because we know that children are often more sensitive to chemicals than adults.
We test all our children's products at our accredited test laboratory in Sweden, as well as at independent accredited test laboratories and institutes around the world. All our products are subjected to regular testing throughout their lifetimes, to ensure that they live up to our demanding standards regarding quality and safety.
To acquire information on upcoming legal requirements, we participate in standards committees for children's products. Here, we have the opportunity not only to gather data but also to share our knowledge. In this way, we can contribute to creating new relevant standards for children's products.
Safety is one of the cornerstones of children's product development. To keep safety in focus through every stage of development, we have formalised a risk assessment process we call "Design for Safety" – an important and crucial part of how a product is developed. Starting already in the sketch phase, and following through the prototype and final production stages, a group of experts identifies and evaluates potential safety risks for the product. Based on this evaluation, we take action to eliminate any safety risk. When needed, we create our test methods for certain product types, to ensure good quality.
Everything we learn about children's development and needs, the requirements on children's products, and health and safety, is consolidated into our training: Children's School. This way, we gain confidence in creating products for children in the home, from beginning to end.
Children's School is about children's needs in the home and how those needs are met by the IKEA product range, in a way that is both safe and fun. It's also a way to share what we have learned from our mistakes, and remind us that we can always improve.
With Children's School, we ensure that the information is disseminated to everyone who works with Children's IKEA products, from product developers to suppliers and co-workers on the sales floor.
To review our work and to gather knowledge, we test the products ourselves before they are released for sales. After all – all of us are IKEA customers and we only offer products we ourselves would give to our own children.