When Joleen and Craig Dudek bought their Malm dresser from Ikea in 2008, they never thought they were bringing the thing into their home that would eventually take their son’s life. Such was the case for the family, however. And they are not alone.
At least five other children have been crushed to death by the popular model of dresser since 2011 along with over 90 additional children that have been injured by the furniture in some way. The deaths triggered action within Ikea and the company began offering anchoring kits to customers that could be used to connect the dresser to the wall behind it. In the end, the dresser would be recalled and pulled from Ikea’s shelves in June of 2016.
The Dudek’s claimed in their lawsuit that they had never been notified about the recall. Without that crucial notification, they had no idea that the piece of furniture their two-year old son was toddling around was inherently unstable and would only learn of its design flaw after it took their child’s life.
In reflecting on their son’s death a few years later, Mr. and Mrs. Dudek shared via their lawyer that little Jozef would have turned five years old this year. “We never thought that a 2-year-old could cause a dresser just 30-inches high to topple over and suffocate him,” they said. “It was only later that we learned that this dresser was unstable by design and did not meet safety standards, and that this had happened to other little boys.”
The Malm deaths and injuries turned a bright spotlight onto the problem of unstable furniture and the risks it poses for those around it; particularly small children. When the Malm was recalled and officials realized that there were millions of these dressers in homes throughout the country, the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission urged immediate action to protect households. “If you have or think you have one of these products, act immediately,” he said. “It is simply too dangerous to have the recalled furniture in your home unanchored, especially if you have young children.”