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IKEA faces products liability claims from Pennsylvania parents

These blogs are posted on behalf of Seidel, Cohen, Hof & Reid, LLC, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the firm or its attorneys. The information presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.

Following a rash of reports of children who were injured or killed when dressers tipped over and crushed them, IKEA responded by distributing wall anchor kits. Store employees encouraged customers to secure their dressers to the walls. Now facing a lawsuit from parents in Pennsylvania, the international furniture store has recalled 29 million dressers and chests across the United States. This may be only the beginning of the products liability problems for IKEA.

It may be the largest furniture recall in history, but some say it is too little too late. IKEA had apparently received numerous complaints about a particular brand of dresser that tipped easily when not attached to a wall. In February 2014, a Pennsylvania toddler died after being pinned under a dresser that fell. A few months later, a second child died in a similar accident. There are reports of children's deaths due to tipping dressers as far back as 1989, including a second Pennsylvania child in 2005.

Children like climbing onto dressers by using the drawers as steps. The IKEA dressers apparently did not meet voluntary performance standards in this country, which would prevent them from falling forward when a certain amount of weight is applied. The U.S. president of IKEA says the dressers are not meant to be free standing, and that anchoring them to the wall should be as automatic as wearing a safety belt in a car.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr. wants to see a federal standard of safety for furniture. Meanwhile, the parents of the seven children who died and the 17 who have been injured are left with many difficult questions. It is not unlikely that others will decide to consult a products liability attorney to find out what steps they should take to seek compensation.

This blog entry was posted on behalf of Seidel, Cohen, Hof & Reid, LLC, and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the firm or its attorneys. The information presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "IKEA to Recall 29 Million Dressers, Chests in U.S.", Saabira Chaudhuri, June 28, 2016

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