Baby Curren’s story is a devastating cautionary tale.
When golden-haired, two-year-old Curren Collas died in an accident in his own bedroom, it turned his family’s world upside down.
It also prompted them to issue a safety warning to other parents across the globe — a call now backed by Swedish furniture giant IKEA.
Curren, from in West Chester, Pennsylvania, was crushed to death in his own bedroom after a popular piece of furniture toppled onto him on 25 February 2013 and pinned him to a bed.
Now his mother Jackie Collas has written of the tragedy, describing the heart-stopping moment she walked into her son’s room to discover he had been killed by the six-drawer MALM dresser.
Ms Collas wrote on her Facebook page:
“I saw that his body was trapped underneath the dresser. At that point I started screaming. His head was trapped between the edge of the bed and all of the weight of the dresser was laying across his neck.
I tried ripping the dresser off of him. It took me a couple of tries to pick it up. I wedged my body between the dresser and Curren so I could scoop him up. I tried to pick him up like I normally do, but his little body and neck was so floppy…
His face was completely purple from broken blood vessels, but he was still warm. I placed him on the bed and tried to feel for a heart beat. At the time I was still screaming and uncontrollably shaking… I’m not sure why they say check for a heartbeat.
I was shaking so bad I would of never found one. I picked him up in my arms and rushed downstairs. I immediately called 911 and began CPR.”
Cullen is not the only child to have died as a result of similar IKEA products. Last year, a 23-month-old child from Washington died after he became trapped beneath a three-drawer MALM chest — and the Daily Mail reports that in the US, IKEA and the consumer panel have received 14 reports of tipover accidents involving MALM chests.
Since the death of their son, Curren’s distraught parents have campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness for furniture safety.
“I wanted to share this because I want you to learn from my mistakes. Bolt EVERYTHING down. Dressers, book shelves, TVs, anything that could possibly fall,” the parents warned others on their Facebook page In Memory of Cullen Collas.
Yesterday, IKEA finally issued a solution for the 27 million people worldwide who own chests and dressers similar to the one that killed Cullen.
The recall is technically in Australia still called a “Safety awareness campaign” — but it is considered urgent in the US, with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) asking for anyone using IKEA’s MALM series chests to stop immediately unless the furniture is securely anchored into the wall.
IKEA said the while the company’s chests and dressers were all distributed with tip-over restraints and instructions for wall anchoring in Australia, not all customers used them. The furniture giant has now said it will offer additional free wall anchoring kits to prevent tragic accidents such as Cullen’s.
In a statement, the company told the Mamamia Women’s Network:
“Product safety is the highest priority for IKEA and IKEA chests and dressers are safe when attached to the wall, as directed in the assembly instructions. IKEA provides tip over restraints and instructions for wall anchoring with all chests and dressers.
For customers who have misplaced the tip over restraints included with their chest and dressers, IKEA offers additional free wall anchoring kits.”
“Please share!” Cullen Collas’s mum Jackie wrote on Facebook as a response to news of IKEA’s acknowledgement of the issue.
“A huge breath [sic] of relief for me this morning… knowing that this information is getting out there. Thank you so much, CPSC! So many precious little lives are being saved,” she wrote.
The MALM chests and dressers have been sold in Australia since 2002.
Watch a safety video on how to attach large furnishings to the wall. (Post continues after video):
IKEA and the CPSC say the repair program will apply to 27 million pieces of furniture in the US alone.
The CPSC saying it is time the entire industry do more to make stable furniture – with a child in the US injured every 24 minutes from furniture or TVs tipping over.
The CPSC has made the recommendation that all IKEA customers with children’s chests and dressers taller than 59.7 centimetres or and adult dressers taller than 75 centimetres immediately cease using the products.
For the Collas family, the news is simply relief.
Yesterday, Jackie Collas wrote on Facebook:
“It breaks my heart when people tell me that their child is old enough to know better, that their dresser is well made or too heavy, that they don’t want to put holes in their walls. I usually hold myself together while getting those responses and then go bawl my eyes out later. It is so hard to watch people making a potentially fatal mistake.”
IKEA have said that wall anchoring equipment and instructions are included with all IKEA chests and dressers. If a customer misplaces these they can pick up a free replacement in store or by contacting IKEA here.