IKEA, the Swedish furniture giant, has always been a favorite of mine. Having made several furniture purchases for my children from the retailer in the past, the loss of life due to IKEA’s failure to provide the proper equipment, hits close to home. After the deaths of three toddlers, as a result of their being pinned beneath a particular dresser, and numerous complaints of the dressers tipping over, the furniture giant has issued a recall of millions of MALM dressers. In a wrongful death suit filed by the parents of a Washington state toddler who died after being pinned beneath a toppled IKEA dresser, they claimed that IKEA sold the dresser despite having known it was not stable.
To prevent a tip over tragedy, furniture should be securely anchored. It’s not uncommon for an inquisitive child to climb furniture as if in doing so the furniture is somehow transformed to playground equipment. I distinctly remember a toddler of my very own attempting to climb on furniture as I feverishly attempted to feed her infant twin sisters nearly 20 years ago. Had my own furniture not been adequately fastened, I shiver at the thought. There are so many hidden dangers that could be so simply avoided.
If a manufacturer fails to provide the proper instructions or materials to secure their product, the result could prove fatal. IKEA could have prevented such tragedies by simply including a few $5 anchors. It’s unfortunate that the loss of life and wrongful death suits prompted such a response. Now facing wrongful death actions, a recall of the product is made in conjunction with an offer to provide the proper anchors.
No recall or any amount of money will replace these precious children. However, the Florida Wrongful Death Statute F.S. 768.21 provides for compensation, in cases such as these, when someone’s negligence causes the death of a loved one. This cause of action is available to particular family members when a death is caused by the negligence of another and provides for the recovery of damages for pain and suffering, medical and funeral expenses and the loss associated with losing a loved one. It’s unfortunate that the parent’s had to experience such a loss for us to have this conversation and for IKEA to be reactive, as opposed to proactively preventing these injuries with the use of a few simple bolts and screws.
Nicole Hunt Jackson focuses her practice on wrongful death, personal injury, motor vehicle cases and related matters. She also advocates for children in our community that need a voice in our justice system through volunteer work and in handling private adoption cases. She is also an adjunct professor for Palm Beach State College providing legal training to police officers.