Two major recalls have been issued involving products made by Swedish company IKEA, a leading global home furnishings provider with more than 300 stores globally.
These recalls could prompt a flood of product liability lawsuits against the company, particularly given the fact that at least one has led to multiple child deaths.
The first involves more 29 million chests and dressers sold in the U.S. and another 7 million sold in Canada. The children’s chests and dressers involved in the recall are higher than 23.5 inches, while the adult chests and dressers are higher than 29.5 inches. The problem is these furniture pieces aren’t stable if they aren’t properly anchored to the wall, which could result in a major tip-over and entrapment hazard that poses a high risk of serious injury or death to children. Tragically, that’s exactly what’s happened, at least three times that we know of.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the first known incident occurred in February 2014, when a 2-year-old Pennsylvania boy died after a 6-drawer IKEA dresser tipped offer and trapped him against his own bed. Then in June that same year, a nearly-2-year-old boy in Washington state died after he was trapped by a 3-drawer IKEA chest that had tipped over.
Then in July 2015, the company announced it would be offering free wall anchoring repair kits for the dressers, noting the potential risk to children.
But then in February of this year, a 22-month-old boy died in Minnesota after a 6-drawer chest fell on top of him.
In addition to these fatal incidents, the company has become aware of more than 40 tip-over incidents resulting in at least 19 child injuries, with the children ranging between the ages of 18 months and 10 years. The dressers in question were sold from April 2002 through June 2016.
Customers who purchased these units are advised to either check to make sure the item is properly mounted to the wall or stop using it and request a refund. Free wall anchor kits are available from the company upon request. If consumers have an IKEA dresser made before 2002 and don’t feel comfortable continuing to use it, they can return it for a partial store credit, even though it’s not technically lumped in with the recall.
The second IKEA recall reported involves child safety gates. These gates reportedly have a defective locking mechanism, which means they aren’t reliable which could result in child injury. For example, if a parent assumes the gate while keep a child safely in a certain space while he or she runs upstairs or outside to grab the mail, but the locking mechanism malfunctions and the child gets out, he or she could wander into a potentially unsafe space, such as outside, a garage or pool area.
The store for this Patrull safety gate recall is offering a full refund, even without proof of purchase. The store has received numerous reports that the gates open unexpectedly, which has primarily resulted in children falling down the stairs and suffering injury. Several needed medical attention.
If your child has been injured as a result of a furniture tip-over, you may be entitled to collect damages if you can show the product was unsafe despite being used as intended or as was reasonably foreseeable.
Contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
More Blog Entries:
Hinrichs v. General Motors of Canada – Foreign Automaker Dismissed From Injury Lawsuit for Lack of Jurisdiction, July 5, 2016, Boca Raton Product Liability Lawyer Blog