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Ikea to Pay $46 million for Toddler's Death

girl-pulling-clothes-from-dresser
By Andrew Leonatti on January 08, 2020 11:49 AM

Ikea's furniture continues to enjoy broad popularity across the U.S. A lot of it is cheap, and the instruction booklets make assembly a breeze.

But the flip side of that inexpensive furniture is that it appears the company may not take the time to address all of their products' safety risks.

The Swedish company and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission have issued recall, after recall, after recall, after recall over the last 10 years.

A Deadly Product

But the worst has been the company's recall of more than 17 million of its popular MALM line of chests and dressers. The company acknowledged that the products can be unstable and tip over or trap children if the dresser is not anchored to a wall.

So far, the product has been tragically linked to the deaths of nine children in the U.S. Ikea previously paid $50 million to settle three of those claims.

But one California family did not know about the recall, and their MALM product led to the 2017 death of their 2-year-old son. They said they were never notified by the company. That death prompted the company to re-announce the recall, in which they offer a refund or wall-anchoring equipment.

The recall covers most MALM models sold from 2002 to 2016. It is estimated that there are still millions of these products remaining in people's homes.

A Historic Settlement

This week, Ikea and the parents of the 2-year-old boy announced that they had reached a $46 million settlement, ending the parents' lawsuit.

The parents' attorney said that the settlement is likely the biggest ever for the wrongful death of a child. The company also agreed to more aggressively promote the continued recall.

It is impossible to place a monetary amount on the life of someone whose death didn't have to happen, and a recall comes too little, too late for those who have lost a loved one. However, these settlements can send an important message to companies like Ikea and their competitors about the importance of following the law with regard to public safety. As in this case, a settlement can force a company to take additional action and hopefully prevent any other tragic accidents from occurring.

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