Ikea in $50m settlement over child deaths from falling drawers in US

Camden Ellis, Curren Collas and Ted McGee were killed by the falling dressers Image copyright Feldman Shepherd
Image caption Left to right: Camden Ellis, Curren Collas and Ted McGee were killed by the falling dressers

Ikea has agreed to pay $50m (£40m) to the families of three toddlers killed in the US by falling chests of drawers, according to lawyers for the families.

The lawyers said the payout, one of the biggest of its kind, reflected the seriousness of the case.

Camden Ellis, 2, Curren Collas, 2, and 23-month-old Ted McGee were crushed after Malm drawers from Ikea toppled onto them.

Ikea confirmed a "tentative settlement" had been reached.

"The settlement is not yet approved by the court and it would be inappropriate for us to comment on it at this time," the Swedish furniture firm said in a statement.

In June, Ikea issued a recall for millions of Malm chests of drawers in North America.

Initially, the company had warned customers to use wall mounts with them, but the third death in February prompted the recall.

Image copyright Ikea
Image caption A Malm chest of drawers

Lawyers at Feldman Shepherd said the $50m would be split evenly between the families.

They added that, as part of the settlement, Ikea had also agreed to make three separate $50,000 donations to hospitals in memories of the children and a $100,000 contribution to a charity focused on child safety.

"This is one of the biggest recoveries in a child death case, a reflection in part of the seriousness of what happened," Alan Feldman, a partner at the law firm, told the BBC.

"Three toddlers were crushed to death in three entirely preventable accidents," he added.

Camden Ellis, from Washington State, was found trapped under a three-drawer Malm in June 2014, the law firm said.

Curren Collas, from Pennsylvania, was crushed by a six-drawer Malm in February 2015, and Theodore McGee was killed by the same sized chest a year later.

Under the settlement, Ikea has agreed to only sell chests in the US that meet or exceed the national voluntary safety standard for clothing storage units, the law firm said.

It added that Ikea would also spend more to raise awareness of the problem, including TV adverts, internet and digital communications and in-store warnings.

The deaths prompted the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to launch an education campaign about the risk of falling chests of drawers.

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