December 20, 2017
Following the report of yet another child fatality, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has launched a fast track recall including 17.3 million units of IKEA dressers and chests. This is not the first time that IKEA products have been recalled due to serious consumer hazards. In a recent lawsuit, family members of the 2-year-old boy who was killed in May after being crushed by their IKEA dresser claims that if the company had properly publicized its product recall, their son’s life might have been saved.
According to the CPSC, there have been eight reports of child fatalities from IKEA dressers and chests. When it comes to injury, entrapment and tip-over reports, IKEA has received hundreds more. When IKEA’s MALM (and other models) dressers and chests are not properly anchored to a wall, they are prone to falling over. To view the complete list of IKEA’s recalled chests and dressers, please visit: https://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/pdf/non_malm_CoD_list_rev.pdf.
Furniture tip-overs result in nonfatal and fatal injuries much more frequently than some people may think – in fact, every 30 minutes a child goes to the emergency room because of injuries from tipped over televisions or furniture. Approximately 91% of all fatal injuries that kids sustain happen in the home, with nearly half of them occurring in a bedroom. All in all, the CPSC estimates that every 10 days, a child is killed as a result of television and furniture tip-overs.
The manufacturer recommends that consumers place dressers and chests in areas that a child doesn’t typically access and to make sure they are safely anchored. As part of the recall, IKEA is offering free in-home anchoring service for consumers who own the defective product. Another option for consumers is to return their dresser or chest and receive a full refund. While the company claims anchoring the products should be enough to keep children safe, in at least one instance a chest that may or may not have been anchored properly killed a 3-year-old child when it fell over and trapped her.
IKEA initiated a recall of 29 million products last June, but the company never kept track of how many customers returned their dressers or requested wall-mounting kits so they could anchor the furniture at home. The Philadelphia Inquirer conducted an investigation and found that within 6 months of the company’s initial recall, only 3% of the defective products had been returned. How many families that unknowingly have these deadly hazards in their homes and apartments remains unclear.
Not everyone believes that the best bet is to anchor the defective dressers and chests. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) recently joined together to criticize IKEA’s choice to advocate wall-anchoring over a complete product return. In a joint statement, the agencies noted that wall-anchoring is typically considered a “second layer of protection”, and isn’t intended as an emergency back-up to make unsafe products more stable for consumers. As with any defective and dangerous product, the best way to limit dangers is to discontinue use and return it right away.
If you suspect that your dresser or chest may be an IKEA model, we urge you to check right away because of how serious the risks are. To read the CPSC’s version of the recall and to make sure none of the furniture in your home is affected and that your child isn’t in danger, you can click here: https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/ikea-reannounces-recall-of-malm-and-other-models-of-chests-and-dressers-due-to-serious.
Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger Represent Families of Children Injured by Furniture Tip-Overs
If your child sustained injuries or was killed as a result of an IKEA product tip-over, call our Philadelphia products liability lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.