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Ikea Settles for $46M in Toddler's Death

Recalled dresser toppled over on Jozef Dudek
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2020 6:07 PM CST
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Joleen and Craig Dudek, top right, comfort each other during a video news conference in Philadelphia on Monday.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Newser) – The parents of a 2-year-old California boy who was killed when an Ikea dresser tipped over and suffocated him have reached a $46 million settlement with the company. Jozef Dudek died in 2017, USA Today reports. "We miss him so much," his mother, Joleen, said Monday. The Dudeks didn't know the dresser was one of 17.3 million recalled in 2016. "It was only later that we learned that this dresser was designed unstable and did not met safety standards and that this had happened to other little boys," Joleen Dudek said. The deaths of nine children in the US have been tied to Ikea dressers, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. The recalled furniture has since been altered. The Dudeks said Ikea could have contacted them through the customer loyalty program; the company has agreed to increase its efforts to reach consumers about the recall as part of the settlement.

The dressers can tip over when children pull on the drawers, bringing it over on them; the Dudeks' was a 30-inch, three-drawer model. The dresser had to be anchored to the wall to be safe, as the assembly instructions said. The family's lawyers said they believe it to be the largest wrongful death settlement in a case involving a child in US history. In 2016, three families divided a $50 million payment in similar cases. "We remain committed to working proactively and collaboratively to address this very important home safety issue," the company said. The Dudeks plan to donate $1 million of the settlement to organizations that advocate to protect children from dangerous products. (The recall was criticized in 2018.)

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