Ikea will pay $50 million to the families of three little boys – including a 22-month-old from Apple Valley – who were killed after dressers tipped over on them.
It's part of the settlement with the Swedish furniture maker after two days of private mediation, a news release from the families' lawyers says.
The lawyers argued that Ikea's Malm dressers were "inherently unstable and easily tipped over," and said that even after injuries and deaths were reported, Ikea didn't do anything to make the dressers more structurally stable.
After two toddlers were killed, Ikea did start offering free wall hangers to secure the dressers. But it wasn't until after Ted McGee was crushed by a dresser in his Apple Valley home in February 2016 that Ikea pulled the dressers from store shelves and issued a recall.
It was one of the largest recalls in Ikea history – 29 million units – and it happened in part because of efforts from U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and other members of Congress, who urged the company to make some changes and recall the dressers.
As part of the wrongful death lawsuit, the $50 million Ikea pays will be split by the three families. But the company will also do more to keep kids safe:
- Ikea will only sell chests and dressers in the U.S. that "meet or exceed" national voluntary safety standards.
- It will increase funding for its "Secure It" program to raise awareness of tip-over risks, including national ads, in-store warnings, and internet and digital communications.
- Ikea will donate $100,00 to Shane's Foundation, which is dedicated to children's safety and furniture tip-over prevention.
- And in memory of each boy who was killed, it will donate $50,000 to children's hospitals in the boys' home states.
Between 2000-2013, 360 children (1 month to 10 years old) were killed when a TV, piece of furniture or an appliance tipped over on them. On average, emergency rooms treat 21,700 children and teens each year for injuries caused by tip-overs, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says.
The commission has recommendations to prevent tip-over tragedies, which include using sturdy furniture; anchoring furniture and TVs to walls; securing top-heavy furniture; and removing any tempting objects.
For more on where and why tip-overs happen, check out the infographic below: