IKEA’s failure to provide the necessary hardware to attach a dresser permanently to the wall has led to a wrongful death lawsuit. Parents Jacquelyn and Jacob Collas are suing the Scandinavian furniture chain for the wrongful death of their toddler killed by an IKEA dresser.
On February 25, 2014, Mrs. Collas of West Chester, Pennsylvania found her two-year-old son, Curren, unresponsive in his room. Curren was trapped between his overturned IKEA MALM chest of drawers and his bed with the full weight of the dresser on his chest. The boy died later that morning at Paoli Hospital. Since Curren’s death, Collas has begun the web site Heaven Has a Hero in an effort to warn other parents of the dangers posed by unsecured furniture in the home. She urges parents,
I wanted to share this because I want you to learn from my mistakes. Bolt EVERYTHING down. Dressers, bookshelves, TVs, anything that could possibly fall.
The wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Collases’ alleges that the death was a preventable occurrence. Knowing that the dresser weighed in excess of 130 pounds and that it had a risk of easily tipping over, the Collas family believes the furniture manufacturer and retailer should routinely include anchoring hardware, consumer warnings, and safety instructions with its products.
The Colasses’ dresser and other similar products, unanchored, represent a significant hazard especially to young children like Curren who are naturally curious. According to the complaint, “the IKEA defendants were aware of a tip-over hazard arising from falling vertical dressers and other furniture. According to estimates from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 43,000 consumers are injured each year in tip-over incidents, with more than 25,000 of those injuries to children under the age of 18.” With these statistics, it leaves one wondering why anchoring hardware is not included with these products.
IKEA spokeswoman, Mona Astra Liss issued this statement in response to the lawsuit, “All of our products go through extensive testing and are regularly evaluated. IKEA chests of drawers are safe for their intended use when properly assembled and permanently attached to the wall, in accordance with the warnings and instructions.”