IKEA agrees to pay $46m to parents of toddler killed by falling chest of drawers

Swedish retail giant IKEA has agreed to pay $46m (£35m) to the parents of a two-year-old boy who died after a chest of drawers fell on him, lawyers say.

Jozef Dudek, from California, died in May 2017 after a 32kg dresser toppled over onto him.

The Malm brand furniture had already been recalled a year earlier following the deaths of three children.

Joleen and Craig Dudek said they are 'devastated' by the loss of their son. Credit: Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Weinstock & Dodig LLP

Jozef Dudek's parents sued IKEA on the grounds the retailer knew its Malm dressers were at risk of tipping over and the items had already injured or killed a number of children.

Lawyers argued the company had failed to warn consumers not to use the chest of drawers unless it was attached to a wall.

Two variants of IKEA's Malm series of chest of drawers. Credit: IKEA

In a statement Joleen and Craig Dudek said:

"We were devastated by the loss of our beautiful Jozef as a result of a tip-over of an IKEA Malm dresser.

"We miss him so much. He would be turning 5 years old this April.

"We never thought that a two-year old could cause a dresser just 30” high to topple over and suffocate him.

"It was only later that we learned that this dresser was unstable by design and did not meet safety standards, and that this had happened to other little boys."

The couple added: "We are telling our story because we do not want this to happen to another family."

Lawyers say Jozef's father had put the child down for a nap before returning to find him under the chest of drawers. Credit: Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Weinstock & Dodig LLP

IKEA said it offered deepest condolences to those involved and stressed it is working to address "this very important home safety issue".

In a statement the retailer added:

"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."

Alan Feldman and his team Attorneys also represented the families of three other children who suffered fatal injuries caused by Malm dressers. Credit: AP

The law firm representing the Dudek family says the multi-million dollar settlement is believed to be the largest child wrongful death recovery in American history.

The settlement also requires the retail giant to broaden its outreach about the recall of Malm dressers, as well as to meet with campaign group Parents Against Tip-Overs.

The Dudek family says it will donate $1m of the settlement to similar campaign groups calling for more rigorous stability testing of furniture.