Feldman Shepherd attorney Daniel J. Mann, along with former client Crystal Ellis, discussed the dangers of IKEA dresser tip-overs in a virtual conversation hosted on July 16, 2020, by child safety advocacy group Kids in Danger (KID).
During the “Conversation with KID” event, Ellis, who lost her first-born child Camden to an IKEA dresser tip-over accident at age 2, discussed the tragedy that led her to find purpose in advocating for safer furniture and educating the public about the risk and prevention of dresser tip-overs. Camden, whom she described as a “loving, caring, observant child” with “a little engineering mind” became trapped with his neck between the drawers of a toppled IKEA MALM dresser, causing him to suffocate. The family did not hear the dresser fall over, and the accident was discovered when Camden’s father entered his bedroom to wake him up for breakfast.
The three-drawer IKEA dresser was just over 30 inches tall and looked “really kid friendly,” Ellis told the audience. Camden was taller than the dresser.
Mann, along with Ellis, touched upon many factors that have contributed to an epidemic of IKEA dresser tip-overs and multiple children’s deaths, including:
- IKEA’s decision to ignore the voluntary industry safety standard for dressers sold in the United States
- IKEA’s failure to effectively notify its customers of dresser recalls, including customers who are part of its “IKEA Friends and Family” program
- Lack of a federal regulation imposing a mandatory stability standard for dressers as well as weak voluntary standards for which industry players have outsized input
- Section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, which prevents the Consumer Product Safety Commission from releasing information about dangerous products without the manufacturer’s consent.
- Emphasis placed by manufacturers on anchoring furniture, when they know that there are many reasons why parents do not anchor furniture, and that anchors are not always effective at preventing tip-overs
- Public shaming on the internet of parents whose children fall victim to dresser tip-overs
Both stressed that dresser tip-overs are an industrywide problem that is not limited to IKEA.
With respect to the lack of federal regulation, in September 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the STURDY Act (Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act), which would impose a stronger, mandatory stability standard for dressers. The bill is presently before the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
For more information about how Section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act allows dangerous products to stay on the market CLICK HERE.
Mann, who along with Feldman Shepherd product liability attorneys Alan M. Feldman and Edward S. Goldis, has recovered nearly $100 million in settlements on behalf of the families of four children, including Camden, whose toddlers died from IKEA dresser tip-overs. As part of the settlement for three of the families, IKEA agreed to sell only chests and dressers in the United States that met or exceeded the then-current voluntary safety standard. However, millions of older-model dangerous dressers still remain in the homes of unsuspecting consumers.
“The great tragedy here is there will likely be other toddlers that lose their lives and sitting here we know that it is going to happen,” Mann told the audience.
To hear the full conversation about IKEA dresser tip-overs CLICK HERE.