IKEA In Big Trouble After Yet Another Young Child Dies
The mother and father of a little boy who was squashed to death by a falling dresser two months ago are said to be suing Ikea, the furniture chain where the dresser was bought.
Theodore "Ted" McGee, 22 months, passed away in the bedroom of his Apple Valley, Minnesota home on Feb. 14 after the Malm dresser toppled over on top of him, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. He was supposed to be napping at the time.
The baby's mother, Janet McGee, opened her son's door to check on him and saw an empty bed. At first, she thought Ted was just hiding somewhere in the room as he often did when he was supposed to be napping.
However, she soon noticed the fallen six-drawer dresser crushing her son's unconscious body. Emergency workers called to the scene could not resuscitate the toddler.
Janet and her husband, Jeremy McGee, are now suing Ikea over their son's death.
"They didn't hear the dresser fall," Alan Feldman, one of the family's attorneys, told the Philadelphia Inquirer about the incident. "They didn't hear Ted scream."
The McGees were not the first family to experience tragedy as the result of a Malm dresser tip-over.
In February 2014, another toddler, 2-year-old Curren Collas of West Chester, Pennsylvania, was killed after the Ikea brand dresser fell over on top of him.
Four months later that same year, 2-year-old Camden Ellis of Snohomish, Washington, was also crushed to death by a Malm dresser.
Federal regulators from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission are currently investigating Ted's death.
The national consumer safety organization received 14 separate reports of Malm dresser tip-overs in 2015, resulting in four injuries, the Daily Mail reported.
In response to these incidents, Ikea publicly announced in a press release in July 2015 that its Malm dressers can be dangerous if not attached to a wall with anchors. The Swedish furniture retailer launched a "repair program" in its U.S. stores in which 27 million dressers, including seven million Malm units ranging in price from $46 to $179, were recalled.
The furniture chain also started a campaign to educate the public about the danger of dresser tip-overs and sent more than 300,000 anchoring kits to customers upon request.
The McGees' lawyers said the family, who bought their dresser in 2012, were not aware of the campaign.
An Ikea spokesman has made this official statement in response to the toddler's death, according to the Daily Mail:
We at Ikea offer our deepest condolences to the McGee family. At Ikea, we believe children are the most important people in the world and the safety of our products is our highest priority. Upon being informed of this incident IKEA US immediately reported it to the authorities and an investigation is taking place. IKEA US has been advised that the product was not attached to the wall, which is an integral part of the product's assembly instructions.
However, federal regulators said the company needed to do more to ensure public safety following the recall.
"Without commenting on any specific case, companies are now on notice that even if there has been a public announcement about a remedy to address a dangerous product, the company must take every possible step to prevent further harm," Elliot Kaye, the chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in a statement to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"This is especially the case when a child dies. Companies need to move fast and work with us on a comprehensive plan that offers their customers every necessary measure required for the sake of safety. I expect companies to truly put safety first."
Sources: Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily Mail / Photo Credit: Philadelphia Inquirer