Some products pose obvious dangers to our well-being, like kitchen appliances, cars, and sporting equipment. When seemingly harmless objects cause serious injuries to us or our loved ones, it can be quite alarming. Recently, international furniture and home goods retailer IKEA initiated a recall of 29 million chests and dressers that have been linked to at least six child deaths that date all the way back to 1989, as well as at least 36 injuries. Based in Sweden, IKEA is the largest retailer of furniture in the world. The accidents occur when the dressers’ drawers are pulled out and children climb on the drawers like a staircase. The weight of the child tips the dresser or chest over and crushes them beneath it.
The chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Elliot F. Kaye, stated that the furniture is simply too dangerous to keep in your household if you do not properly anchor it to the wall, particularly if you have young kids in the house. Lars Petersson, the president and CEO of IKEA USA, issued a statement saying that the furniture was never intended to be used without the anchoring equipment, which secures the dressers and chests to the walls against which they are placed. In a recent interview, Petersson said, “If you are assembling correctly, the product is actually a very safe product.”
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child is involved in a fatal dresser accident at least once every two weeks, including accidents involving dressers, heavy television sets, and other appliances. Roughly 38,000 people are admitted to hospital emergency rooms each year for injuries involving tip-over accidents, with the majority of these injuries happening to children who are five years old or younger.
After reports of injuries and deaths began to accumulate, IKEA offered free anchoring kits, but consumer advocacy groups deemed the action inadequate. The most recent case of a child tip-over injury occurred in February when a Minnesota woman found her toddler crushed beneath a six-drawer dresser in his bedroom. There are voluntary safety standards available for manufacturers of furniture equipment. These standards provide that a furniture unit must be prevented from tipping over when a drawer is extended and 50 pounds of weight or more are applied to the open drawer.
A consumer who has suffered injuries involving a dangerous product can bring a strict liability claim against the manufacturer to seek compensation for his or her harm. In this type of claim, the plaintiff must prove that the product was unreasonably dangerous as designed and that the plaintiff was injured as a result. The ways that a plaintiff may prove that the design was unreasonably dangerous are different among the states. As a result, it is critical to hire an experienced child injury lawyer to help you determine your course of action. At Moll Law Group, we have represented clients throughout the nation, including in California, Florida, Texas, and Illinois. We offer a free consultation, so call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to schedule your appointment.