Third Toddler Is Killed By Falling Furniture After IKEA Issues Safety Warning
A third child has been killed by a falling chest of drawers made by IKEA after the furniture giant issued a safety warning about securing the tip-prone piece.
Little Theodore “Ted” McGee died in February when he tipped IKEA’s popular Malm dresser while alone in his room, the family’s attorney told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
It landed on the 22-month-old Minnesota boy while his parents thought he was napping.
“They didn’t hear the dresser fall,” attorney Alan Feldman told the Inquirer. “They didn’t hear Ted scream.”
He is the third toddler in the last two years to be crushed to death by a falling chest of drawers.
IKEA and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission are reviewing the child’s tragic death. The review came seven months after IKEA urged anyone who owned certain dressers to anchor them to the wall to avoid injury.
“Consumers should immediately stop using all IKEA children’s chests and dressers taller than 23 1/2 inches and adult chests and dressers taller than 29 1/2 inches, unless they are securely anchored to the wall. The free wall anchoring kit should be used to secure MALM and other IKEA chests and dressers to the wall,” the CPSC wrote in a July 2015 statement.
The Swedish furniture chain offered free wall-anchoring kits to anyone who had purchased the tip-prone furniture. The repair program affected 27 million dressers, including seven million Malm pieces.
Two other young children died in similar incidents involving the Malm dresser in 2014, CPSC wrote. Neither chest had been secured to the wall, the agency said.
Three other deaths since 1989 have been attributed to tip-overs from other models of IKEA chests and dressers, the chain said.
“IKEA and CPSC have also received 14 reports of tip-over incidents involving MALM chests, resulting in four injuries,” investigators wrote when the first warning was issued.
The retailer has since sent more than 300,000 anchoring kits to consumers in addition to the restraints provided at the time of purchase, IKEA told InsideEdition.com.
Jeremy and Janet McGee bought their dresser in 2012, before their first child together, Ted, was born.
The little boy’s mother told police she put her son down for a nap that day and returned 20 minutes later to find the six-drawer dresser on top of her son, the Inquirer wrote.
Loved ones remembered Ted as someone who, "in his short life ... brought immense joy and love to his family and friends."
"He loved to watch sports with his daddy and enjoyed playing with his brothers, especially rocking out to music," his obituary read. "He liked 'reading' books and coloring, as well as playing with cars, trains, and bubbles. His greatest moments in life were being with his family and playing with his partner in crime, the family dog, Chloe."
The child’s family is preparing a lawsuit against IKEA in connection to his death, their attorney told the paper, saying that lawsuits on behalf of the families of the two other children who died in Malm tip-overs have already been filed.
"How many kids should we sacrifice simply because this is a product that has some utility and that people will buy because it's inexpensive furniture?" Feldman said.
The CPSC reports that a child dies every two weeks and a child is injured every 24 minutes in the U.S. from furniture or TVs tipping over.
Under careful supervision, 3-year-old Todd Rauch showed INSIDE EDITION how easily he could climb onto his bedroom dresser by pulling out the drawers, causing the entire thing to tip over.
“He was able to pull open all these drawers and climb up here,” his mother, Nicole Rauch, told IE at the time. “They would’ve fallen right over on him.”
The dresser used was not manufactured by IKEA.
IKEA offered its condolences to the McGee family and in a statement to IE.com, said that "at IKEA, we believe children are the most important people in the world and the safety of our products is our highest priority.
"Consistent with our ongoing work and cooperation with the CPSC, upon being informed of this incident we immediately reported it to the Agency and an investigation is taking place," the statement said. "IKEA has been advised that the product was not attached to the wall, which is an integral part of the product’s assembly instructions.
"We wish to emphasize that the best way to prevent tip-over of chests of drawers is to attach products to the wall with the included restraints and hardware per the assembly instructions. IKEA has included restraints with our chest of drawers for decades, and wall attachment is an integral part of the assembly instructions."
The free repair kit program announced with the CPSC last July, is ongoing, as is IKEA's communication campaign, Secure It!, to raise awareness of the importance of attaching chest of drawers to the wall, the spokeswoman told IE.com.
The company immediately notified the safety commission after learning of the toddler’s death, the spokeswoman said.