Philadelphia Product Liability Lawyers: The Danger of IKEA Furniture Tip-Overs
February 5, 2017
Just last year, IKEA recalled nearly 30 million of its dressers and chests because of the serious risk of injury and death they posed to children and adults. This recall came about as a result of multiple injuries and sadly, seven deaths of kids who lost their lives because of the dressers overturned on them. With IKEA dressers not meeting stability standards for furniture manufacturing and consumer safety, the American public is at risk from these deadly products.
Young children are at risk for death and serious injury from furniture tip-overs, but so are adults. More than 40,000 annually are injured from furniture tip-overs. One example of this is when an 80-year-old woman was injured so severely from an IKEA dresser tipping over on her that she required a surgical procedure to remove necrotic tissue from her leg. Had she not been crushed by and trapped underneath a fallen dresser for more than one hour, her health would not have been so severely compromised. These tip-overs become even more of a threat when furniture is not manufactured in a way that meets the stability standard.
One major reason that the IKEA chests and dressers did not meet stability standards was because they did not come with wall-mounting kits, allowing them to be anchored. Although the company began offering wall-mounting kits with its chests and dressers in 2015, a year after it was reported that two children died from furniture tip-overs, the kits required that people drill holes into their walls. A third child lost his life in 2015 because his family, who lived in an apartment, were not allowed to drill holes in their walls because they rented the property.
It is the legal responsibility of a company like IKEA to manufacture and sell furniture that is reasonably safe for consumers. As a response to the multiple injuries and deaths, IKEA launched its voluntary recall in 2016. The recall included IKEA Malm dressers, chests that have more than three drawers and other models. After the recall was launched, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) discovered that four more children had died as a result of IKEA furniture tipping-over. One death occurred in 2011 and was because the child was trapped between the drawers of a dresser that fell over, crushing him. The child who lost his life was only two years old. The other deaths occurred between 1989 and 2007, and claimed the lives of a 20-month-old, a 2 ½-year-old and a 3-year-old. All these children died because they were fatally pinned to the floor after an IKEA chest or dresser tipped over on them.
Once the USCPSC initiated the recall along with IKEA, the agency reported an additional 41 tip-over incidents, many of which resulted in the injuries of children between the ages of 19 months and 10 years old. The models that were recalled were manufactured and sold between 2002 and 2016, and partial refunds are being offered to consumers who purchased a chest or dresser prior to January of 2002.
The USCPSC recommends that consumers who own any of the recalled products immediately discontinue to use them, especially if they are not anchored to the consumer’s house or apartment walls. The agency notes that consumers should store the affected dresser or chest in an area inaccessible to children. In respect to how to proceed, there are two main options: one is to contact the company and receive a free wall-anchoring repair kit, which the consumer can install on his or her own, or the company can in a free, in-home, one-time installation offer. The other option is to return the unsafe product altogether, and receive a full or partial refund.
These IKEA chests and dressers have proven themselves to be extremely dangerous, even fatal. With adults being seriously injured and children getting hurt and losing their lives, the seriousness of the issue is impossible to deny. We urge you to make insure that if you do own a recalled chest or dresser, that you immediately store it somewhere safe and out of harm’s way, and decide whether or not to contact the company directly or to return the product for a refund.
Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger Advocate for Consumers’ Right to Safe Furniture
If you suspect that you may have been injured by a defective or mislabeled product, call the experienced Philadelphia products liability lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP. For your free consultation with one of our knowledgeable and highly skilled Philadelphia personal injury lawyers, call today at 800-222-8792 or submit an online contact form.