A California father put his 2-year-old son, Jozef Dudek, down for a nap not realizing there was danger inside his bedroom. While the toddler was sleeping, the Ikea dresser tipped over and killed him, according to ABC News.
The family’s lawyer, Daniel J. Mann, explained:
“It fell over on top of him. It didn’t contact any furniture.”
He added the family is “absolutely distraught” over the death of their child caused by the Ikea three-drawer Malm dresser.
Jozef is now the eighth child death that has been reported since the June 2016 recall of this dresser that warned the chests and dressers are unstable if they are not properly anchored to the wall, posing a serious tip-over and entrapment hazard that can result in death or injuries to children.
Ikea issued a notice offering free anchoring kits when two deaths were reported in 2014 and announced the recall in 2016 when a 22-month-old boy was killed. All of the children killed in accidents with the furniture have been 3-years-old or younger.
The recall included 29 million chests and dressers with different Malm models including three, four, five and six-drawer styles and also included other chests and dressers models sold by Ikea.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Jozef’s parents were not aware of the recall, according to their attorney:
“Jozef’s tragic death was completely avoidable. 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 across the country.”
Ikea issued written a statement to ABC News following the child’s death that said:
Our hearts go out to the affected family, and we offer our sincere condolences during this most difficult time. The initial investigation indicates that the chest involved in this incident had not been properly attached to the wall.
Mann told ABC News, “The true tragedy is there might be more of these in the future.”
Nancy Cowles, executive director of the non-profit Kids In Danger, backed that up by saying there are potentially millions of dressers are still in use and unsecured to a wall because Ikea didn’t do enough to warn parents about the deadly hazard.
She said only a small amount, recalled items have been repaired or refunded:
“We have to do better, because these are just ticking land mines in a child’s bedroom.”
A large group has joined together to demand Ikea do more for the safety of children and their customers following the growing list of deaths caused by the furniture they sell by providing stronger warnings when people are at risk.
A joint statement was issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, Kids In Danger, the National Center for Health Research, Public Citizen, Shane’s Foundation, and U.S. PIRG:
From the delay in issuing a recall to lackluster efforts by Ikea to fully communicate the hazard and the recall to the public — relying instead on soft messages on securing any and all furniture — this death highlights the risks to children of tip-over incidents. Companies must be held accountable for their products’ safety and the CPSC must be strong enough to force companies to take action in ways that successfully get recalled products out of homes.
Ikea fought back by saying they have worked to spread awareness about the recall using a national advertising campaign through TV, print, radio, social media, email campaigns, and their website. The company said, “We took our responsibility to communicate this recall very seriously and went to great lengths to get the word out.”
Ikea added it has:
[W]orked hard to make participation in the recall as easy as possible for consumers. Consumers can return the item to any store for a refund, no receipt required. If a consumer is unable to bring the product back to the store, Ikea will arrange to pick it up at their home.
Shoppers who purchased recalled chests and dressers manufactured between January 2002 and June 2016 are entitled to a full refund, while a partial store credit will be made for chest dressers manufactured prior to January 2002.
Cowles is urging customers to request a refund instead of the repair kit, “We are telling consumers that if they are going to participate, to ask for the refund.”
If a customer chooses a free anchoring kit, they can install it themselves, or Ikea will provide a one-time, free in-home installation service if that is requested. The kits can be re-ordered as needed. A request for a refund or repair can be made at an Ikea retail store, their website, or by calling (866) 856-4532.
Watch the heartbroken mother describe her son below.