Ikea Recalls over 29 Million Dressers After Tragic Deaths of Children
Ikea announced that it is recalling 29 million chests and dressers in the United States, and an additional 7 million from Canada, after disturbing reports of at least 6 deaths of small children related to the product. According to a New York Times article by Mike McPhate, the dressers and chests have been responsible for at least 6 deaths and more than 70 injuries. One of Ikea’s most popular models, the Malm, accounts for a large number of the recalled products. The article stated that the dressers are toppling over when children attempt to climb the drawers like a ladder, causing the dresser to fall forward and cause a crush injury. Apparently, the dressers are ‘balanced’ in such a manner that they are top heavy, and if any pressure is applied to the front of them, they will fall forward. All of the 6 children who have tragically lost their lives were under 3 years of age. While all of the fatalities involved small children, older children and adults have been injured by these dressers unexpectedly toppling over, according to a recent Reuters article. Clearly, these dressers pose a danger to anyone. According to CPSC chairman Elliott Kaye, who serves as the head of the federal government’s consumer protection division, ‘It is simply too dangerous to have the recalled furniture in your home unanchored, especially if you have young children.’
The New York Times article referenced above indicated that Ikea has offered to accept the recalled dressers, and even to come to your house to pick them up, for a full refund, or to provide, free of charge, materials that consumers can use to anchor the dressers to their walls. For those lucky customers who weren’t injured by the dressers toppling over, this may seem like an adequate response. However, it totally misses the point. Companies should not be allowing such a dangerous product to make its way onto the open market to begin with. Additionally, these products have been known to topple and cause serious, sometimes fatal, injuries for over a decade, and Ikea did nothing. According to the New York Times article referenced above, most furniture companies’ products comply with voluntary safety standards, which mandate that self-standing furniture will not tip over when a drawer is extended and 50 pounds of pressure is applied. Clearly, Ikea chose not to comply with this standard.
We as consumers make important choices with every purchase that we make and every product that we choose to bring into our home. Too often, we make these choices under an assumption that the manufacturer of these products has tested that product and designed it in such a manner that it will be safe to use. Unfortunately, manufacturers do not always have their customers’ best interests in mind when they are designing, manufacturing, and marketing a product. We need to all make conscious, informed, purchases, and we also need to act proactively to protect ourselves and our families from faulty products. Websites like http://www.cpsc.gov/ and http://www.recalls.gov/ are useful for identifying products that have been recalled. If you are the owner of a recalled product, promptly return the product or follow the instructions in the notice. Do not simply do nothing. These notices are issued for a reason and often times only after tragedy has struck.
At Keches Law Group, P.C., we are very experienced in the field of product liability. If you or a loved one has been injured by a faulty product, please contact us and we would be happy to sit down and talk with you about the unique circumstances of your case. Every case and every client is different, and thus communication is key to this process, particularly with regard to products cases, which are often complicated and technical. Most importantly, keep yourself and your family safe, and, if you do suffer an injury, act quickly to ensure that your full rights are protected.