Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Swedish furniture maker Ikea has agreed to pay $46 million in a settlement to the family of toddler who died in 2017 after one of its dressers tipped over and crushed him.
Jozef Dudek, of Buena Park, Calif., who died at age 2 in May 2017, was the latest report on the company website of eight child deaths related to the recalled Malm dressers or chests.
The family's law firm Felman Shepherd said in a statement that Jozef was fatally injured by the tip-over of an Ikea Malm three-drawer dresser. His father had put him in bed for a nap on May 24, 2017 in their home, and when he returned to check on him, he found Jozef under the dresser. Jozef died later that day. The dresser toppled into his neck, resulting in injuries that caused him to suffocate.
The firm said in the statement the wrongful death settlement is "believed to be the largest," related to one child in U.S. history.
Ikea apologized in a statement.
"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," an Ikea representative said. "Product safety is a top priority for Ikea and at the core of the design process every day. Again, we offer our deepest condolences to the family."
The company has recalled 17.3 million Malm chests and dressers due to the tip-over hazard. The product recall was revised downward from a 2016 recall of the same products sold between 2002 and 2016. Ikea has received 186 reports of tip-over incidents, including 91 child injuries from the same products.
The lawsuit filed in June 2018 alleged that Ikea knew of the many injuries and deaths associated with the products prior to Jozef's death, but "failed to take adequate measures" to improve safety.
Under the settlement, Ikea has committed to broaden its outreach to consumers about the existence of the recall. It has also agreed to meet with representatives of Parents Against Tip-overs, an organization advocating mandatory stability standards for dressers. The Dudek family has agreed to donate $1 million from the settlement to three consumer organizations advocating more rigorous stability testing for dressers -- Kids in Danger, Consumer Reports and the Consumer Federation of America.
Lawyers at the firm also represented families of children who died after dresser tip-overs in Pennsylvania, Washington and Minnesota. In 2016, a $50 million settlement of these three cases was reached.
Under the settlement of these three cases, "Ikea agreed to redesign its dressers to comply with the national voluntary standard for tip-over safety and stability," the firm's statement said. "Nevertheless, millions of the unsafe older model dresser remain in the homes of consumers around the country."