Consumer Law Articles
By Charles Monnett
Charles G. Monnett III & Associates
Charlotte, North Carolina
Parents of a toddler killed by an IKEA dresser have recently filed a lawsuit against IKEA.
At the heart of the argument: the furniture giant’s recall efforts. IKEA has been aware of fatalities associated with their unstable dressers. But the company’s response to the dangers over the years were not enough to protect families.
IKEA Dressers: History of Problems and Recall Notices
The furniture company is aware of the safety issue caused by their dangerous dressers. Past warnings and recall attempts have failed families and their smallest members. IKEA’s refusal to fully pull the recalled products from the market continues to present hazard to small children.
IKEA’s dresser problem has been ongoing for years. Sadly, the company’s response has not prevented additional injuries and deaths.
After two children’s deaths in 2014, IKEA issued a warning. The furniture company offered repair kits to owners of the dangerous dressers.
IKEA issued a first recall notice about the dressers in June 2016. The recall occurred only after there were more incidents of injuries and deaths.
IKEA reissued the recall again in November 2017. The reissued recall occurred after another reported death.
The list of small children injured and dying has grown. Yet IKEA refuses to update the design of the dangerous dressers. The company insists that the recall attempts and anchoring devices are enough to keep children safe.
IKEA Dresser Recall Attempts Not Enough to Prevent Another Death
IKEA’s second recall notice occurred after the death of 2-year old Jozef Dudek of Buena Park, Ca. This was one year after the original recall. Parents of the toddler stated they were not aware of the recall campaign.
Lars Peterson, IKEA’s CEO, defended the furnishing giant. Mr. Peterson said IKEA had communicated the problem extensively to the public through social media, its website, television and print ads. He stated it had also emailed 13 million people about the recall.
The recall efforts stated the following on the notices:
Consumers should immediately secure IKEA dressers or return them for a refund.
Consumers should stop using recalled IKEA dressers unless they are securely fastened to a wall.
IKEA offers refunds, free kits to fasten the furniture. IKEA also offers free furniture pickup or free in-home anchoring service.
But Jozef Dudek’s death shows that IKEA’s recalls and safety communications has a limited reach.Consumer safety advocacy groups agree that the company’s recall attempt is ineffective. The groups criticized IKEA’s methods for handling the tip-over dangers.
“Consumers should not have to depend on news stations, nonprofit organizations like KID, or social media to learn about a recall and how to receive a refund.” – KID (kidsindanger.org)
In addition, consumer groups want more corrective action — for IKEA to begin creating safer furniture.
Recalled Furniture Not Compliant with Safety Standards
IKEA continues to sell furniture that are not compliant with voluntary industry safety standards in the United States. Lawmakers introduced a bill that would make current safety standards for dressers mandatory.
The bill failed in committee.
IKEA’s Dresser Solution: An Ineffective Quick Fix
Mr. Peterson commented that recalled IKEA products contain instructions to anchor furniture securely. He insists that anchored products are safe for use.
But consumer safety advocacy groups say that the response is not enough.
” Anchoring devices are meant as a second layer of protection for stable dressers — not as a replacement for making stable dressers in the first place.”
Advocacy groups stress that the products are dangerous and that IKEA should develop safer furniture. Because the furniture giant refuses to pull unstable dressers from production, small children continue to be at risk for tip over hazards. Families of injured and harmed children must find their own legal recourse.
IKEA Dresser-Related Lawsuits
Last December, Ikea reached a $50 million-dollar settlement with the families of three toddlers. Each family suffered the death of a child killed when Ikea dressers fell on them. The payout was among the largest ever settlements of its type. More claims may be pending.
To date, eight children have died from injuries from recalled IKEA dressers since 1989.
July 1989– A -20-month- old girl from Mt. Vernon, Virginia
March 2002– A 2½-year-old boy from Cranford, N.J.
October 2007– A 3-year-old girl from Chula Vista, California
September 2011– A 2-year-old boy from Woodbridge, Virginia
February 2014– A 2-year-old boy from West Chester, Pennsylvania
June 2014– A 23-month-old boy from Snohomish, Washington
February 2016– A 22-month-old boy from Apple Valley, Minnesota
May 2017- A 2-year-old boy from California
The number injuries reported are much higher.
91 reports of injuries from Malm dressers tip-over accidents
53 reports of other types of IKEA dressers falling over, 53 of which caused injuries.