IKEA will pay $50 million to the parents of three toddlers killed in separate incidents by toppling dressers that have since been recalled, according to the families' attorney.
The Swedish furniture company settled the families’ wrongful death suits, which were filed in Philadelphia, six months after issuing a recall of 29 million Ikea dressers, including the Malm model that was involved in all three fatal tip-overs.
“The recalled 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 serious injuries to children,” the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission wrote in its June recall announcement.
Little Curren Collas, 2, was killed when a 6-drawer Malm chest tipped over and fatally pinned him against his bed in his West Chester, Pennsylvania, room in February 2014.
Just four months later, Camden Ellis, also 2, died after becoming trapped beneath a 3-drawer version of the chest that had toppled onto him, only being freed after his father found him under the dresser in June 2014 at their Washington state home.
He was rushed to a hospital, but the Snohomish toddler could not be saved. After four days on a ventilator, he was taken off life support.
Theodore “Ted” McGee, 22 months, died in February 2016 when the Malm dresser in his Apple Valley, Minnesota, room tipped over. His parents had thought he was napping when he was crushed to death.
None of the chests or dressers in the three incidents had been anchored to the wall, according to the CPSC.
IKEA also agreed to donate $50,000 to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in memory of Curren, $50,000 to a children’s hospital in Washington State in memory of Camden and $50,000 to a children’s hospital in Minnesota in memory of Ted, the families’ attorney said in a statement.
The company will also donate $100,000 to Shane’s Foundation NFP, an organization devoted to children’s safety with a focus on furniture tip-over prevention and education, as well as increase its funding for its “Secure It” program to raise awareness of the risk of tip-overs, to include national television advertisements, internet and digital communications and in-store warnings.
Though relieved that the fight is over, the parents of the victims said no amount of money would bring back their sons.
“Your life, it will always be cut in half. Even if I live until 100, it’s going to be before Curren and after Curren,” Curren’s mother, Jackie Collas, told The Philadelphia Inquirer Wednesday. “He would be proud that we fought so hard for him.”
The families’ attorney told the newspaper that the payout, which is to be split evening among the families, might be among the highest for a case dealing with a child’s death.
In a statement to InsideEdition.com, an IKEA spokesperson said: "We can confirm that a tentative settlement has been reached. The settlement is not yet approved by the court and it would be inappropriate for us to comment on this at this time."