A Washington Post report says that now a seventh child has been killed in an accident involving an Ikea dresser. Jozef Dudek of Buena Park, California, was said to have been put down for a nap at his home. Shortly after, his father went back to the room to check on him and was alarmed to find the boy had died when crushed below a dresser.
This is the latest in a string of fatalities involved with the company’s Malm furniture line. In 2016, Ikea launched a recall for over 30 million such dressers with stability concerns. The family’s attorney implied that they are likely to file a wrongful death suit and explained the family was unaware of the recall. The company expressed condolences in the matter. A preliminary investigation showed the unit was not fastened to the wall.
Ikea defended itself by citing their significant efforts at recalling the defective Malm furniture products. They conducted a nationwide advertising campaign that featured both online and in-store postings. According to the CPSC, the cause for the recall was that the dressers were a serious “tip-over and entrapment hazard” that could lead to injuries or death, particularly among small children.
The company offered full refunds for those products purchased after 2002 and partial refunds for pre-2002 items. Customers could arrange for a free pick up or drop the furniture off at a local retail location. Wall anchoring kits were also available for customers to attach the dresser units to the wall for increased stability. A company spokesman stated the organization spent “millions of dollars” to inform consumers and satisfied its governmental requirements.
Causes & Data
The story recently involving the Dudek’s is similar to those of three other families with toddlers that were fatally injured. According to CPSC data, children in the U.S. are injured by falling furniture or televisions at a rate of one every half an hour and a death occurs approximately every two weeks. Unstable furniture and appliances are among several leading dangers for small children in their homes. Between 2013 and 2015, over 33,000 people visited emergency rooms across the country resulting from these types of accidents.
Previous Litigation & “Anchor It” Initiative
Last year, a settlement agreement was reached with three families whose children had died in Malm furniture-related accidents that were reported to be worth a total of $50 million in damages. In 2016, Charles Gilman discussed the details of this litigation in an article titled Ikea to Pay $50M Settlement To Three Families in Wrongful Deaths of Children, that is available at this link.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission launched their “Anchor It” campaign to promote educational awareness regarding these types of accidents. Anne Marie Buerkle, speaking for the safety commission, says they have worked hard to make the recall more effective and that Ikea was “cooperative” in addressing the safety concerns along the way.