Few things are more terrifying and heart-wrenching than the thought of furniture tipping over and injuring, or even killing, your young child. Unfortunately, this is the reality that hundreds of families face each year. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that every 24 minutes, someone across the country is injured or killed when a piece of furniture, a television, or an appliance tips over, and that a child dies from this type of accident every two weeks.
IKEA, in particular, has faced significant criticism over the past several years. Their dressers are linked to at least 10 deaths of children due to tip-over incidents. Here is what you should know about avoiding deadly furniture tip-overs in your home.
Anchoring Furniture to the Wall
First and foremost, when you have large furniture including dressers in your home, you should anchor it to the wall to avoid potentially serious injury or even deadly accidents. Consumer Reports suggests that you anchor wardrobes, dressers, bookcases, televisions, and other large pieces of furniture to the wall to prevent tip-overs. Ikea offers an online guide to anchoring and securing furniture, including their dressers, to different types of walls.
When you have young kids starting to explore their environment, it's especially important to be cautious about avoiding potentially deadly tip-over accidents, but unsecured furniture can pose a danger even to careful adults.
Anchoring furniture should be a priority, even if you are concerned about getting the security deposit back on your rented apartment. When you move out and remove the anchors, you can patch up the holes in the wall with putty or masonry hole-filler and repaint to match the color of the walls. Good landlords would rather have a few repaired holes in their walls than worry about serious injuries to their tenants.
Although consumer advocacy groups and affected parents are rightfully taking furniture makers, including IKEA, to task for risks associated with top-heavy and easy to tip-over dressers and other large pieces of furniture, it is extremely worthwhile to spend the time to secure furniture as a precaution to avoid a potentially deadly accident in your home.
IKEA Product Recalls
Over the past ten years, IKEA has recalled millions of productsi, including:
- High chairs,
- Mattresses and beds,
- Bedroom lights,
- Capes, and
While some of IKEA's product recalls were taken as preventative measures, perhaps the most notorious one was instituted in 2016 for its Malm dresser, which was recalled due to the numerous deaths caused by furniture tip-overs.
Since 2016, IKEA has recalled 8 million Malm dressers and 21 million other models in efforts to reduce potential injuries from these products tipping over. So far under the product recall, IKEA has “addressed” 1.3 million of these dressers by either providing free wall-anchoring kits designed to secure top-heavy furniture or by accepting returns of the recalled dressers.
If you believe you might be eligible to participate in the 2016 recall, you can visit IKEA's website for further details. Remember – companies that recall their products may still be liable for damages if your child was injured or killed by their products. In addition to its 2016 recall, IKEA paid $50 million in a settlement to families whose children were killed when MALM dressers tipped over.
Deadly furniture tip-overs are, unfortunately, not a new phenomenon. The first reported death from an IKEA dresser tipping over was reported thirty years ago, in 1989. A generation later, toddlers and children are still at risk of tip-over accidents from deadly top-heavy furniture.
This trend has started to change. IKEA has created newly designed furniture meant to reduce tip-overs as well. These new designs make it difficult, if not impossible, to use this line of dressers if they are not anchored or otherwise secured to the wall. While this extra step may create additional work when first putting together the furniture, by designing its furniture in this way, IKEA is working to limit the risk of tip-overs to small children.
Independent designers have also begun researching furniture modifications that allow dressers to withstand 50 pounds of pressure to shelves. These designs could prevent dresser tip-over accidents, even if the furniture isn't anchored to the wall. While this furniture is not yet available for consumer purchase, designers are optimistic that this sort of outside-the-box thinking could lead to a new wave of furniture safety standards.
Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has had your life changed because of unsafe furniture tip-overs, you may be entitled to compensation. The personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Freeman & Freeman have been serving families in the Santa Rosa area since 1957. Please contact us by calling (707) 575-7141 today.