July 23, 2015

"What happened to Curren is known as a 'tip over' — the term for when an everyday appliance or piece of furniture is knocked over and suddenly transformed into a deadly threat."

"According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child dies roughly every two weeks due to tip-over incidents. The vast majority of victims are under the age of five."


Amichel said...

She's filing a lawsuit against Ikea because it didn't warn against "tip-overs"? Ridiculous. It's Ikeas responsibility to make sure that parents know about the law of gravity? That tall, narrow, heavy furniture can tip over? What a brazen load of bullshit.

Gahrie said...

It's sad, but shit happens. Not every death deserves a lawsuit.

mccullough said...

I anchored the dresser for my son 10 years ago. The dresser I bought came with anchors, instructions for the anchors, and a warning.

IKEA was carelesess

KLDAVIS said...

Every dresser/bookcase I've purchased from Ikea in the last 12 years has come with anchors.

Freeman Hunt said...

I always see big televisions up on television stands without anchors. Bad idea.

Scott said...

I installed a gas range in a house I was rehabbing. City code required that the range have an anti-tipping device installed -- it's hooks mounted to the wall that you hook the range into, to keep it from tipping forward when you pull at the top.

JAORE said...

Tragic, yes. But 2 deaths out of millions of units Does not seem negligent to me. I'm sure some lawyers can wipe the drool from their chins long enough to explain why I am incorrect.

And then, as night follows the day we can expect laws and regulations requiring anchors on anything over six inches high.

Fritz said...

It's a miracle I survived childhood.

CWJ said...

"Those bills were named for 3-year-old Katie Lambert, who died in 2005 when a dresser in her bedroom, tilted ever-so-slightly forward by tack strip beneath the carpet on which it rested, toppled forward and crushed her."

I've noticed the "tack strip" effect every time I've placed cabinets flush against a wall. It's visibly obvious and shimming is in order. "...tilted ever-so-slightly..." is newspaper speak to cover for ignorant or negligent parents.

"Katie was killed on impact, police found. But an expert hired by the Lamberts in their lawsuit against Ikea, which manufactured the wardrobe, said that her last moments would likely have been terrifying."

Killed on impact, but her last moments were plural. It must have fallen iun slow motion like in the movies.

"The wardrobe had come with metal brackets to attach it to the wall, which the Lamberts had not used, but they said that the restraints were “woefully inadequate” anyway."

And here's the money quote complete with sour grapes. Did they hire an expert on that too? Even giving them the benefit of the doubt about woefully inadequate, I guess a trip to the hardware store was out of the question.

Mark said...


Not Ikea's fault.

The parents are ultimately responsible for making the home safe for their kids. Should forks come with warnings that they shouldn't be inserted into wall outlets? I feel for the mother, and understand the psychological need for it to not be her fault. However, it's hard to see how it isn't the parents' fault here. If society wants to protect children (instead of protecting the delicate flower "adults" who are having children) then in cases like this, where "best practices" in childproofing are well known, charge the parents with a crime when those best practices aren't implemented. (I'm not actually advocating that; parents who have to deal with tragedies like this suffer enough. But Lawsuit-As-Therapy should be discouraged, because its harm to society far outweighs any possible benefit.)

Chris N said...

How about two anchors and a sign, and a slightly higher price?

Maybe a recall and a public apology?

How about some money?

If none of the above works, a law for everyone on all furniture/appliance standards?

Anonymous said...

I have that same dresser from IKEA, funny thing is that the dresser comes with wall anchors and the directions indicate that you should in fact anchor it to the wall. And IKEA even has these fabulous cut outs on the back in the heavy cardboard so that you can put the anchors into the wall and have the top part of your dresser flat and yet secure.

While I feel very badly for the parents I have to wonder what the heck those kids were doing because when the dresser is loaded with my kids clothes it is a heavy thing, and yes I did try to tip it over when I placed it where I did in the room precisely because if it was easy to tip I was going to move it a wall so I could anchor it.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

"The wardrobe had come with metal brackets to attach it to the wall, which the Lamberts had not used, but they said that the restraints were “woefully inadequate” anyway

I guess I don't understand the basis of the lawsuit--the manufacturer included safety devices along with the product, but the user chose not to use the safety devices. Are they arguing that the it shouldn't have been possible to not use the safety devices? Or that the safety devices wouldn't have worked even if they had been installed? I'm not sure how Ikea loses if it's an issue of proportional liability and the users admit they didn't install the safety devices Ikea provided.

Gabriel said...

It's not about whether the manufacturer did or did not include safety devices and instructions or whether the owner did or did not use them.

It's about whether the manufacturer is a faceless corporation with deep pockets or insurance, and whether the owner had an adorable little tyke.

Incidentally, one death every two weeks due to tip-overs dwarfs kidnappings, gun deaths, pesticides, GMOS, and all the other threats the media gins up. Which is turned dwarf by the deaths of adorable little tykes being driven around by their loving parents.

Gabriel said...

What's really killing children: their well-meaning parents.

"More than 650 children 12 and under were killed in crashes in 2011," Sauber-Schatz said. "That's more than a dozen children every week."
Researchers found that 45% of African American children and 46% of Hispanic children killed in crashes were unbuckled. They were not able to study the reasons for the sharp differences with white children in this study, but previous research has shown that "socio-economic status can play a role in whether a family has a car seat," Sauber-Schatz says.

And disparate impact to boot. Why are we not suing racist car manufacturers whose products are killing our children? Why is it legal to put your kids in a car?

For the irony-impaired, those last two questions are intended to be ironic. We cannot accept, psychologically, that the most dangerous risks are inflicted on children by their parents. Who else has as much proximity, access, and opportunity?

So we blame everyone and everything but ourselves, and hype all the exotic risks while ignoring the real common killers, which we have control over.

Doug said...

Yes, no one should ever die. Can we PLEASE have more onerous regulations?

Anthony said...

I wonder how many kids are killed each year riding on the backs of their parents' bicycles. . . . .

mikee said...

Kids climb. They also taste test everything they can fit into their mouths.

It is a wonder mine survived to adulthood.

Maybe the cautionary tales my wife and I told them about their (fictional) older brother, who was sold to the University for medical experiments because he misbehaved, had something to do with it.

furious_a said...

If it saves one child, we need to ban the ownership of furniture and appliances.

furious_a said...

To toddlers with Mom's car keys, wall outlets look a lot like car ignitions.

Steve said...

"Katie was killed on impact...[b]ut an expert hired by the Lamberts...said that her last moments would likely have been terrifying."

I have always found that it is one hell of a ride until the excruciating pain starts.

Big Mike said...

I'm having trouble reconciling two things -- some of the folks upthread indicate that Ikea already provides anchors and instructions for how to use them but the linked article suggests that Ikea is sending out anchors for its MALM chests of drawers. Which is it? Does the MALM come with anchors or not?

I've seen cartoons where kids pull out drawers and use them climb up to the top of the chest. Maybe we should ban cartoons that show characters getting away with dangerous activities?

Peter said...

"I always see big televisions up on television stands without anchors. Bad idea."

Well, the monster TVs produced near the end of the CRT-TV era could be deadly, as they were both front-heavy and just plain heavy.

But even large LCD TVs don't weigh very much, and the base supplied with them is wide enough that it's not at all easy to tip one over.

Perhaps parents need to accept that the world will always be dangerous place for toddlers, and it's their job to protect them from it?

I could see liability if the risk were somehow hidden (e.g., electric shock hazard in an appliance) or perhaps even if the tip-over risk of this furniture were extraordinary (e.g, pointy legs centered under the middle of it and a very heavy top) but that's not the case here, is it?