In May 2017, 2-year-old Jozef Dudek went down for a nap. But when his dad went to check on him, he was horrified to discover that his son had been crushed underneath a fallen dresser.
Tragically, young Josef did not survive. But his death was not the first resulting from the dresser. He was the eighth child to be crushed by it, and it wasn’t until after his tragic death that a gigantic recall of over 17 million units was issued.
But 29 million of the very same dressers had been previously recalled in 2016 for safety concerns. Continued tragedies like Josef’s have led many to believe the problem has merely been swept under the rug.
The dressers involved in the recall were sold between 2002 and 2016, leaving a dangerous piece of furniture in production for nearly 15 years.
The dressers are sold at none other than IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer.
The Malm style dresser has been the subject of significant media attention for years, as the Swedish-furniture chain recalled three-, four-, five- and six-drawer chests and dressers from the line, as well as many additional styles from other lines.
The dressers in question failed to meet safety standards given by ASTM International. According to HuffPost, the group’s regulations state that “A chest or dresser that is over 30 inches high should be able to stay upright when a 50-pound weight — basically, the equivalent of a small child — hangs from an open drawer.”
However, these regulations are shockingly optional, and IKEA was not breaking any law in failing to meet them.
But this issue goes further than IKEA simply ignoring voluntary safety standards. In the United States, an average of one child dies every 10 days from a piece of furniture or a TV tipping over, regardless of its brand. Additionally, these tips cause one child to be injured nearly every 30 minutes. The issue, it seems, is that safety standards are simply being ignored.
The unsettling statistics don’t stop there. Of the 17 million IKEA dressers recalled, the furniture brand does not know how many unsafe units still remain in people’s homes. Find the full list of recalled units here.
“There is really no accurate count of how many recalled dressers are in homes today,” IKEA said to HuffPost. “In the last two years, we have done extensive outreach to consumers to communicate the recall including television ads, social, digital and print advertising, and emails to more than 13 million consumers — which in turn, has resulted in Ikea providing service or refunding more than one million dressers.”
As HuffPost notes, one million dressers is only a small fractions of the millions recalled since they began producing them in 2002, leaving a dangerous amount of deadly units still out there.
IKEA had addressed the issue with a supposed solution of updated dressers, but has stated that their furniture is only fully safe when secured to the wall with restraints.
“The updated Ikea chests of drawers have been adapted in different ways in order to ensure compliance on all Ikea markets,” an IKEA spokesperson said to HuffPost. “Some chests have reduced drawer extension and on some chests the protective plastic feet have been moved forward. However, all chests of drawers still need to be anchored to the wall according the instructions, in order to be safe.”
But attorney Alan Feldman, who is representing Josef’s parents, doesn’t believe this is enough.
“The safety of a dresser should not be dependent upon the ability of the consumer to go out and buy tools or hire a carpenter to affix something to a wall,” he said. “They should be safe and stable on their own.”
“Sadly, Jozef’s death was completely avoidable, had Ikea adhered to safe design standards,” he said in an October press release.
“What makes this death more heartbreaking is the fact that [the 2016] so-called recall was poorly publicized by Ikea and ineffective in getting these defective and unstable dressers out of children’s bedrooms,” Feldman said. “It’s terrifying that there are millions more of these dressers in homes across the country, which may cause more harm and anguish in the future.”
If you happen to have this dresser in your home, either request your free wall anchoring kit or return it to IKEA for a full refund — it may just save someone’s life.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.