#childsafety | Ikea to pay £35m to parents whose child was killed by falling chest of drawers

Ikea will pay $46 million (£35 million) to the parents of a toddler who died after being crushed by a chest of drawers that tipped over onto him, said the family’s lawyers.

Jozef Dudek, 2, died in 2017 from suffocation in Buena Park, California. His parents sued the Swedish home furnishings company in Philadelphia court in 2018.

Lawyers say this is the largest child wrongful death settlement in US history.

The Dudeks accused Ikea of knowing its 32kg Malm drawers were unstable by design and had already injured or killed a number of children, but the company had failed to warn buyers the dressers must be anchored to a wall.

Joleen and Craig Dudek said: “We never thought that a two-year-old could cause a dresser just 30 inches high to topple over and suffocate him.

“It was only later that we learned [it] was unstable by design. We are telling our story because we do not want this to happen to another family.”

The Dudek family will donate $1 million from the settlement to organisations that advocate for more rigorous stability testing for dressers, they said.

Under the settlement, Ikea is required to meet with advocacy organisation, Parents Against Tip-overs, and educate more consumers about the Malm drawers recall, said the Dudek’s lawyers.

An Ikea spokeswoman said: “While no settlement can alter the traffic events that brought us here, for the sake of the family and all involved, we’re grateful that this litigation has reaches a resolution.

“We remain committed to working to address this very important home safety issue.”

The suit noted the drawers were recalled in 2016, the largest recall in the company’s history, after three children were killed by tipped-over drawers between 2014 and 2016.

Camden Ellis, 2, Curren Collas, 2, and 23-month-old Ted McGee were all crushed by the drawers. In December 2016, Ikea agreed to a combined settlement of $50 million (£40 million) to the families of the three toddlers.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s latest advice said: “CPSC and Ikea are urging consumers to inspect their Ikea chests and dressers to ensure that they are securely anchored to the wall.

“Consumers should move unanchored chests and dressers into storage or other areas where they cannot be accessed by children until the chests and dressers are properly anchored to the wall.”

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