A second lawsuit has been filed in a year over a child’s death from injuries caused by an Ikea dresser that tipped over on the child.
Parents of a Washington state toddler fatally injured in an Ikea dresser tip-over over have filed a lawsuit against the Swedish furniture retailer in the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, Philly.com reports. The lawsuit alleges Ikea sold the dresser despite knowing it was unstable.
This is the second fatal-injury lawsuit involving the tip-over of an Ikea Malm dresser. The previous suit was filed by the mother of a Pennsylvania two-year-old, who died in February 2014 when an Ikea dresser fell over on him, according to Philly.com.
Ikea, working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), announced a “repair program” involving 27 million Ikea dressers in July 2015. The company said the dressers could be unstable if not anchored to the wall, and the company offered purchasers a restraint kit so they could secure the dresser to the wall. Though a repair program of this type is considered a recall under CPSC regulations, Ikea has avoided describing it as a recall in its communications. The company stresses that it has not offered to buy back or replace the dressers, according to Philly.com.
Legal documents in the new case indicate that the Washington state boy was pinned under a three-drawer Malm dresser on June 11, 2014. The child’s father found the trapped child and lifted the dresser off him. The boy’s mother performed CPR until the ambulance arrived, according to Philly.com. The child was on a ventilator for four days before his parents removed him from life support and he died.
The lawsuit accuses Ikea of designing and selling dressers that do not meet the furniture industry’s safety standard for stability. A lawyer who represents the families of both children who died said Ikea’s Malm dressers are inherently unstable and Ikea has placed the burden for making them safe on consumers. The company has this “backwards,” he said.
The parents seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, including compensation for medical expenses, funeral expenses, the child’s pain and suffering, and the family’s emotional distress, Philly.com reports. Swedish furniture retailer Ikea has U.S. headquarters in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. The company would not comment on the latest lawsuit, citing a policy against discussing ongoing litigation. But a company statement said Ikea continues “to work cooperatively with the CPSC on the important issue of tip-over safety.”
Furniture tip-overs are responsible for more than 38,000 emergency-room visits in the United States annually and the CPSC said that two-thirds of the injuries happen to children under five. A child dies every two weeks in a tip-over accident, the agency says, and tip-over incidents most often involve unsecured dressers and televisions.