Recalled IKEA Dresser Linked to Death of Toddler

An eighth child has died after a recalled IKEA dresser topped over and crushed him.

The Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP law firm, which represents the parents of 2-year-old Jozef Dudek of Buena Park, California, said in a statement on Oct. 19 that Jozef died on May 24 after an IKEA Malm dresser fell on him. Jozef's father went into his son's room that night, only to find him under the dresser. He could not be saved.

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The Malm dresser was recalled in 2015, after two children were crushed by the rawer sets in 2014, notes USA Today. A third child died in April 2016, leading to IKEA issuing new safety warnings and an expanded recall. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which published extensive investigations into the issue, last year's recall covered 29 million dressers.

IKEA still allows customers to request a refund if they still have a Malm dresser. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also said IKEA also made a wall-anchoring kit available for those who wish to keep the dressers.

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However, the attorneys for the Dudek family accused IKEA of not widely publicizing the recall.

"Sadly, Jozef's death was completely avoidable, had IKEA adhered to safe design standards," attorney Alan M. Feldman said in a statement.

"What makes this death more heartbreaking is the fact that last year's so-called recall was poorly publicized by IKEA and ineffective in getting these defective and unstable dressers out of children's bedrooms," Feldman continued. "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."

In a new statement to NPR, IKEA said it stresses to consumers that they must use the wall attaching hardware included with their chest or drawers since they can easily be pulled down by a young child.

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"Wall attachment is a necessary part of the assembly instructions, which must not be overlooked," the statement read. "If it is impossible for units to be attached to the wall, consumers should choose a different storage solution."

The Inquirer reported this week that only 882,500 dressers were addressed under the recall and repair program, according to a CPSC filing in January 2017. That's only 3 percent of the dressers covered by the recall.