Ikea has agreed to pay $US46 million ($66.5 million) to the parents of a two-year-old child who was crushed to death by a Malm dresser.
The massive payout was the result of a mediated court settlement, which centred around the notorious Ikea dresser, which has been linked to several child deaths from accidental tip-overs.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission said that it had been aware of four other children who had been crushed by Malm dressers. As a result, the Swedish furniture retailer launched a product recall of the popular product.
The products “are unstable if they are not properly anchored to the wall, posing serious tip-over and entrapment hazards that can result in injuries or death to children”, the Commission said.
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About 8-million Malm chests and drawers were recalled, along with 21-million other pieces of furniture.
Consumers were given the choice of either a refund or a kit to anchor the furniture to the wall.
However, at the time, Ikea Australia, refused to join in on the recall saying: “IKEA chest of drawers are safe when attached to the wall as directed in the assembly instructions.”
“We spread awareness of the importance of securing furniture on our products and product instructions, on the website and in-stores. IKEA Australia is not undertaking the recall.”
No Knowledge Of Recall
According to the Dudek’s attorney, the family said that they hadn’t known about the recall nor had been contacted by Ikea about this.
Craig and Joleen Dudek subsequently sued Ikea, saying that the company had known about this issue for many years but had failed to rectify it.
The Dudek’s payout is believed to be the biggest settlement for the wrongful death of a child.
In 2016, Ikea agreed to pay $US50 million to settle three similar lawsuits following the death of children killed by the Malm furniture.
Donation To Advocacy Groups
The Dudeks said at a news conference that they planned to donate $US1 million to advocacy groups that warn about the dangers of furniture tip-overs, such as Kids in Danger and Consumer Federation of America.
The Dudek’s lawyers also said a top Ikea executive has agreed to meet with an advocacy group formed by parents whose children were killed by fallen furniture.
“While no settlement can alter the tragic events that brought us here, for the sake of the family and all involved, we’re grateful that this litigation has reached a resolution,” Ikea said in a statement. “We remain committed to working proactively and collaboratively to address this very important home safety issue.”
It Can Happen So Easily
This video below which originated in the US highlights how shockingly easy it is for a toddler to be killed while they innocently play around the home.
Have these kinds of stories help raise your awareness of securing furniture? Tell us in the comments below.