Ted’s Story


Ted was crushed when a dresser tipped over on top of him. He was almost 2 years old.

Submitted by his mother, Janet

Ted was a beautiful and carefree 22-month-old. He loved playing with his brothers and cousins and had a special bond with our family dog, Chloe. Our day on Sunday, February 14, 2016, started out like a normal day. We went to church in the morning. Since it was Valentine’s Day, the day of love, our church handed out chocolate candy on the way out. Ted enjoyed his on the way home and had chocolate smeared on his face when we pulled in the garage. It was so adorable. I remember thinking what a great day it was going to be.

After lunch and a lot of playing, it was time for Ted to take a nap. I checked on him every 15-20 minutes. The last time I opened his door to check on him, it was quiet. As I started to open the door, I expected to see him in his bed sleeping. Instead, I saw an empty bed. As I pushed the door open further, I saw his dresser had fallen forward. Given how eerily quiet it was, I instantly knew my sweet Ted was underneath. The rest of that day felt like a bad movie that my mind can’t stop replaying. I lifted up the dresser and started digging through the drawers and screamed for someone to call 911. At the bottom was my precious boy, lying quiet and still. We started CPR and the paramedics took over soon after. Ted was rushed to the nearest hospital and was still alive with a faint heartbeat. As the medical staff worked hard to save Ted’s life, we held his cold, chubby hand and prayed to God to save Ted. We were soon told that there was nothing more that could be done. Our prayers changed from asking God for a miracle, to asking God to take good care of our little boy as we entrusted Ted back to Him. In a matter of just four short hours, our lives had changed forever and would never be the same again. It was just six weeks before Ted’s second birthday.

In the days following Ted’s death we had many people come to our house to visit. Four days after he died, one of our friends asked if Ted’s dresser was from IKEA, as she had heard something about IKEA dressers not being stable. I had no idea what she was talking about. I googled “IKEA dresser deaths” and my heart sank when Ted’s 6-drawer IKEA Malm dresser was the first picture that showed up. I pored through all of the articles and learned that two other precious 2-year-old boys had died by the IKEA Malm dresser in 2014. We also learned the dresser had never been recalled, even despite the two deaths two years earlier. Instead, the company had launched a repair kit program in 2015 where they issued anchor kits to consumers. We were completely heartbroken and upset that we heard about the dangers of this dresser four days too late.

Our heartbreak and disappointment drove us to act immediately to prevent this from happening to another child. Within days of Ted’s death and with the help of Ted’s grandpa, we had contacted the law firm representing the other two families. In April 2016, Ted’s death went public. In June 2016, after pressure from several incredible U.S. Senators (including our MN U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar) and consumer advocate groups (including Kids in Danger), IKEA acknowledged the problem and recalled 29 million dressers. It was said to be the largest furniture recall in U.S. history. By the time the recall took place, there had been a total of seven deaths linked to unstable IKEA dressers since 1989. In December 2016, IKEA settled with our three families and agreed to only sell chests and dressers in the U.S. that meet or exceed the national voluntary safety standards. Among several other details of the settlement, the company also agreed to increase funding for its “Secure It” program that raises awareness of the risk of tip overs.

Every day we miss our little Teddy. The day he died, a piece of our family and our future died with him.

For more information on this hazard, visit our Product Hazard page on furniture tip-overs. Visit Janet’s website here. Learn more about the IKEA recall here.