FLATPACK furniture giant Ikea has agreed to a compensation payment of $46 million (€41 million) to the family of a toddler who was killed after one of their chest of drawers fell on him. Jozef Dudek, aged 2, was trapped and suffocated to death when the “Malm” brand chest toppled on top of him in his home in California. Following earlier incidents, the product had been banned in the US at the time of the tragedy but the Dudek’s said they were unaware of this, having brought the item prior to the ban.
At least eight children are believed to have been killed worldwide in similar incidents involving the Swedish firm’s furniture, three in the US. The Malm range is still on sale in many countries, including Spain and the UK, and the company’s website carries tipping hazard warnings and states that the furniture should be anchored and fixed to the wall to prevent this. The family’s lawyer said that the item was “inherently unstable” while the settlement is believed to be the largest in US history for this type of accident. The Dudek family are donating a million dollars of the money to an organisation that aims to protect children from unsafe products. An Ikea spokesman said this week “while no settlement can alter the tragic events that brought us here, for the sake of the family and all involved, we’re grateful that this litigation has reached a resolution. We remain committed to working proactively and collaboratively to address this very important home safety issue.”
Pictured: Young victim Jozef Dudek.