IKEA’s Furniture Tip-Over Problem
IKEA, an Scandinavian furniture company, is known for selling good-quality furniture at a reasonable price. And, of course, for the Swedish meatballs in its food court! But in recent years, IKEA has also become known for something far less pleasant than delicious meatballs: its easily-tipped over dressers.
Troubles for IKEA
The culprit is the Malm dresser. While it looks great in a college dorm or a tiny apartment, the dressers are unstable when left unattached to the walls, and can easily fall over. While the dressers are not particularly large or heavy, tip-over accidents can prove fatal for small children, who could be crushed or otherwise injured if the dresser falls on them. In fact, the Malm dresser is linked to eight deaths, all involving children under the age of eight.
IKEA has paid a total of $50 million to the families of three of the children. Beginning in June of 2017, they also issued a recall for the Malm dressers. For affected customers, they offered the opportunity to receive a free wall-anchoring kit, which could be used to properly and safely attach the dressers to the walls, as well as the potential for a full or partial refund. However, since the latest death occurred after the recall was announced, IKEA is being criticized for poor publicity of the recall, and for not doing enough to prevent further deaths.
Furniture accidents are more common than you might think. Every year, 43,000 people are injured in tip-over accidents, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Most victims are under the age of 5, with a child dying every two weeks from a furniture accident. In the past ten years, a child has visited the ER every 45 seconds due to injuries from fallen furniture.
When a child is struck by a piece of falling furniture, injuries can include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
Safety Around the House
Many tip-over injuries occur when a child is playing on a dresser, such as climbing up onto opened drawers. On the other hand, product defects, like loose screws, can also cause injuries, even if a child is simply nearby the furniture when it falls over. Sometimes, it is a combination of factors.
There are steps that both companies and consumers can take to prevent furniture accidents. People with small children should remind their kids not to play on furniture. If a piece of furniture requires assembly, consumers should follow the directions carefully.
Companies should ensure that all their products are safe. But when something does slip through, they should take full responsibility and recall the product in a timely fashion. Hopefully, all companies can learn from the recent tragedies involving the Malm dressers, and take better steps to keep their customers safe.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.