IKEA, a Swedish-based home retail service providing a line of affordable furniture and home goods, has found itself in hot water over claims indicating that the company’s dressers and other furniture units pose serious dangers to children. Roughly 27 million units sold at IKEA’s stores and through the website have been identified as posing tip-over risks to children if the furniture is not securely anchored to a wall.
Two specific reports filed with IKEA profiled separate tragic and devastating cases in which a child died as a result of a MALM style dresser tipping over and falling on or trapping the child. In one of the cases, a mother found her two-year-old son in his room trapped between an IKEA MALM style dresser that had tipped over and his bed. The toddler’s face was blue, indicating that the dresser may have prevented him from breathing and resulted in suffocation.
Additionally, both IKEA and the United States Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) have received nearly 15 reports profiling tip-over accidents involving the specific line of IKEA furniture. Four of the incidents involved extensive injuries.
In conjunction with the CPSC, the Swedish retailer has agreed to launch a repair program that provides free wall anchoring kits for the series of dressers identified as posing risks. The dressers include the MALM 3- and 4-drawer chests and a pair of styles from the MALM 6-drawer chests, in addition to other items. IKEA also provided a warning and advisory document showing purchasers of the MALM dressers how to safely install them and ensure the furnitures’ safety.
The same document also discussed some measures the company is taking to enhance the safety of its products. As of October 1, 2015, US-based IKEA stores only offer window blinds and window coverings that are free of cords or that incorporate non-accessible cords. The move comes as part of the company’s Safe Homes Together program, focusing on consumer education efforts to prevent more avoidable injuries and deaths.
According to the CPSC, nearly one child dies every two weeks as a result of similar tip-over accidents involving furniture and other common household items. In most cases, the victims are less than five years of age.
Massachusetts product liability law requires manufacturers to design products that are reasonably safe for consumer use and to ensure that products do not deviate from their intended design, creating a dangerous manufacturing defect. Unlike regular negligence cases, product liability cases typically apply a strict liability standard, which requires a manufacturer to compensate a victim for his or her damages if the plaintiff shows the product was unreasonably dangerous or that it deviated from its intended design. In addition, products must come with adequate warnings and safety instructions
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries as the result of a defective or dangerously designed product, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced and dedicated product liability lawyers at The Law Offices of John S. Moffa have represented accident victims throughout the state and are ready to help you seek the compensation that you deserve. We offer a free consultation and ensure that our clients always receive personal attention. Call us now at 508-362-5554 or contact us online to set up your free consultation.