Four months after Swedish retailer Ikea recalled 29 million dressers deemed a safety risk, federal regulators confirmed a report of another child killed by an Ikea dress that tipped over.
After a review, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has added the 2011 death of a 2-year-old Woodbridge, Virginia, boy to the list of six children it says have died because of Ikea dresser tip-overs, Philly.com reports. None of the chests or dressers involved in the fatal tip-over had been anchored to the wall.
The seventh death involved a three-drawer dresser from Ikea’s popular Malm line, which has been linked to three other child deaths. In a November 4 update to the June 2016 recall, the CPSC again warned parents of the danger of injuries and deaths from toppling dressers and chests. Parker Waichman LLP notes the dangers to young children from dressers, bookcases and other furniture that can topple over on the child.
Children at Risk from Falling Furniture
The CPSC reiterated earlier advice to consumers to “immediately stop using any recalled chest and dresser that is not properly anchored to the wall and place it into an area that children cannot access,” according to the agency’s statement.
In the June recall announcement, Ikea and the CPSC noted six deaths and dozens of injuries to children resulting from tip-overs of Ikea dressers. CPSC chairman, Elliot Kaye, has described the Ikea furniture as “simply too dangerous” and urged consumers to immediately anchor them to the wall or remove them from their homes. About 8 million Malm chests and dressers have been recalled, along with another 21 million children’s and adults’ chests and dressers, according to the CPSC. Approximately 6.6 million of the affected dressers were sold in Canada.
The recalled children’s chests and dressers are taller than 23.5 inches and adult chests and dressers are taller than 29.5 inches. The 29 million recalled chests and dressers include: Malm 3-drawer, 4-drawer, 5-drawer and three 6-drawer models and other children’s and adult chests and dressers. The recalled chests and dressers can topple over if they are not properly anchored to the wall. The child can be injured by the falling dresser or trapped beneath it.
Ikea spokeswoman Mona Astra Liss said the company learned about the 2011 death only recently from the safety commission and that Ikea offered “sincere condolences to the family.” A Malm dresser was also involved in the 2014 death of a 2-year-old from West Chester, Pennsylvania.
The Tip-over Problem
Ikea began selling the Malm furniture line in 2002, but has now pulled Malm dressers from the market and plans to redesign the furniture line. The June recall also applies to more than 100 other Ikea chest and dresser lines sold over the last 20 years. All of the recalled furniture failed to meet industry standards for stability, Philly.com reports. Ikea has offered full refunds in most cases.
In July 2015, IKEA launched a repair program that included a free wall-anchoring repair kit for numerous models of chests and dressers. The program came about because of the deaths of two toddlers in 2014. In February 2016, a 22-month-old boy was killed in Minnesota when a six-drawer Malm unit fell on top of him, the CPSC said. In addition to the child deaths, Ikea has received reports of 41 tip-over incidents involving Malm dressers. These resulted in 17 injuries to children from 19 months to 10 years of age, the CPSC said. Three other children died, in 1989, 2002, and 2007, after being pinned by a toppled Ikea dresser.
The CPSC reports that one child dies every two weeks when a television, a piece of furniture, or an appliance falls on the child. Toppling televisions and furniture cause 70 percent of the deaths; 34 percent of the incidents involve a child climbing on the furniture. Sixty percent of the children are crushed by the toppled furniture and 18 percent are trapped and unable to breathe. The majority of injuries happen to children between the ages of one and five.
The CPSC emphasizes that these deaths and injuries are preventable if parents take steps to stabilize furniture and televisions. Chests, dressers and bookcases should be anchored to the wall and televisions should be mounted on the wall or fastened to a stand.
Legal Help for Victims of Toppling Furniture
If your child has been injured by an Ikea dresser or other furniture that has tipped over, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP. The firm can provide a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Contact Parker Waichman by filling out the online form or by calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).