MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It led to the largest furniture recall in history and on Thursday, furniture giant IKEA agreed to pay $50 million to families of toddlers killed by its dressers.
At least six children were crushed by the company’s MALM furniture line in recent years, which has since been recalled.
Among the victims was a 22-month-old boy from Apple Valley, who died last Valentine’s Day when an IKEA dresser crushed him.
“When Ted was here we always said what a blessing he was,” mother Janet McGee said last summer.
No amount of money can heal the heartache of Jeremy and Janet McGee, whose son Teddy was killed by the unstable furniture.
The boy had been napping in his room but awoke and managed to climb up the MALM dresser, when it toppled over and pinned him underneath.
By July, the distraught parents were speaking out in hopes it would help save other parents a similar fate.
“We really, as parents, don’t want any other parents to go through this kind of hell,” Jeremy McGee said.
At the time of Teddy’s death, at least two other toddlers had also been killed, yet IKEA did not issue any safety warnings to consumers.
That’s when Sen. Amy Klobuchar pressed IKEA to stop selling the line of MALM furniture and issue refunds or repairs.
In June, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall of 29 million MALM dressers and chests.
“The families will never be whole,” said Klobuchar.
On Thursday, after the settlement had been announced, Klobuchar credited the McGees for forcing IKEA to change its safety practices. Not only is the company paying out $50 million to victim’s families, it has already released a safety video warning of the stability dangers.
For customers wanting to keep the furniture, IKEA technicians will anchor dressers to walls, free of charge.
“Nothing really had happened. Some children had died and until the McGees came forward, we joined together on this issue,” Klobuchar said. “They were willing to put their horrendous grief aside to make sure other kids didn’t die and they’ve made such a difference.”