IKEA Dresser Causes Eight Toddler Deaths
A total of eight children have died as a result of an IKEA dresser that was recalled in June 2016. After discovering the model has a tendency to tip over and cause toddler deaths, IKEA began offering either a refund or wall anchoring kit.
The death of two-year-old Jozef Dudek of California back in May of this year recently came to light and marks the eighth death of a child as a result of the IKEA furniture piece. The dresser fell on top of Dudek, crushing him during his naptime. The family’s attorney, Daniel J. Mann of Philadelphia, reported the toddler was alone in the room. When the dresser tipped, “it didn’t contact any furniture,” Mann said, adding that the family is “absolutely distraught” over the incident. In addition to Dudek’s family, Mann’s law firm has represented the families of three other toddler boys who were killed by IKEA dressers.
In a written statement to ABC News, IKEA said, “Our hearts go out to the affected family, and we offer our sincere condolences during this most difficult time.” The company stated further, “the initial investigation indicates that the chest involved in this incident had not been properly attached to the wall.”
29 million chests and dressers have been recalled including various MALM three-, four-, five- and six-drawer models, as well as several others sold by the popular retailer. Nancy Cowles, executive director of the non-profit organization Kids In Danger, said only about 3 percent of affected pieces have been remedied by a refund or repair kit. That leaves a dangerously high number of dressers still in households that have not been properly secured.
“We have to do better because these are just ticking landmines in a child’s bedroom,” Cowles said. Mann added, “The true tragedy is there might be more of these in the future.”
After the first two deaths in 2014, IKEA issued a notice offering free anchoring kits. Then, a third toddler from Minnesota was killed in February 2016. So, the company began issuing a full recall. After that recall was issued in June 2016, a fourth death that had occurred in 2011 from the MALM line of IKEA furniture was discovered and added to the count. The recall also notes three earlier deaths from different models of IKEA dressers in 1989, 2002 and 2007.
Mann said he’s sure there are tip-overs that are never reported because a child was not harmed. “Sometimes a parent catches it or it falls onto a wall or a bed,” he said. “It’s just by the grace of God.” Therefore, it is highly likely a much larger number of dressers that have tipped over.
Despite many groups that have said the company is not doing enough to prevent these accidents, IKEA alleged it has adequately publicized the recall through website, social media and email campaigns, as well as through news stories and a national advertising. “We took our responsibility to communicate this recall very seriously and went to great lengths to get the word out,” the company stated, adding, it has “worked hard to make participation in the recall as easy as possible for consumers. Consumers can return the item to any store for a refund, no receipt required. If a consumer is unable to bring the product back to the store, IKEA will arrange to pick it up at their home.”
Consumers are currently entitled to a full refund for recalled chests and dressers manufactured between January 2002 and June 2016. If customers prefer to get the free anchoring kit, they may install it themselves or have IKEA provide a one-time, free in-home installation service. “We are telling consumers that if they are going to participate, to ask for the refund” rather than the anchoring kit, Cowles said.