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The global furniture chain Ikea has recently agreed to pay $46 million to a family whose son died after an accident with a set of their drawers. Ikea is a Swedish home-goods store that has made a name for itself in selling simple, trendy furniture at exceedingly low prices. It now boasts locations in more than 50 countries around the world.

Jozef Dudek was only 2-years old when a set of Ikea’s Malm drawers toppled over onto him in May 2017. The incident occurred at the family’s California home. The $46 million settlement is the largest child wrongful death settlement in US history.

One year before the accident, the drawers had been recalled after killing three other American boys, all under 2-years old. Ikea originally responded to the issue by warning customers to use wall mounts with the drawers but announced a recall after the death of the third child. The recall had customers return millions of drawers and was the largest recall in the company’s history. The families of the three boys received a combined total of $50 million from Ikea in 2016.

The parents of Jozef are justifiably devastated. They have said, “We never thought that a two-year-old could cause a dresser just 30 inches (76cm) high to topple over and suffocate him”. The couple went on to say, “We are telling our story because we do not want this to happen to another family”. The Dudek’s have also promised to donate $1 million of the settlement to organisations who help protect children from harmful products.

Going forward, Ikea has agreed to vehemently adhere to U.S. voluntary safety standards for storage units. They have also said the company would spend money on raising awareness of the design flaw by means of TV advertisements, online campaigns and in-store warnings.

The children’s deaths have also sparked The US Consumer Product Safety Commission to launch an education campaign to get the word out about the dangers of unstable drawers.

Difficult words

Boast (v): To possess or have something of pride.

Topple (v): To fall over.

Settlement (n): An official agreement to end a legal dispute.

Recall (v): For a company to take back a defective product.

Mount (v): To place or fix an object with support.

Justifiably (adv): Having a good reason, understandable.

Vehemently (adv): Passionately, in an intense manner.

Adhere (v): To believe in and follow the rules.

Flaw (n): An imperfection or fault, weakness.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English:

Match the Synonym!

1. Boast A. Agreement
2. Topple B. Fault
3. Settlement C. Understandably
4. Recall D. Fall
5. Mount E. Passionately
6. Justifiably F. Take back.
7. Vehemently G. Obey
8. Adhere H. Possess
9. Flaw I. Place

True or False?

1. Ikea is an international supermarket. T / F

2.  The young boy who died was less than 10 years old. T / F

3. Ikea has locations in more 70 counties across the planet. T / F

4. The family’s settlement is the biggest child wrongful death settlement in global history.  T / F

5. The drawers were recalled after Jozef Dudek died. T / F

6. The recall was the biggest in Ikea’s history. T / F

7. The drawers were not taller than 76 cm (30cm). T / F

8. Jozef’s parents will donate $1 million to protecting other children. T / F

9. Ikea does not plan to follow furniture standards more thoroughly in the future. T / F

10. Ikea will warn customers in the store about the drawers. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. Ikea / recently agreed / $46 / million / to / chain / global furniture / pay / The / has

2. in / more / locations / It / around / than / now / the world. / boasts / 50 countries

3. the / California / family’s / home / at / The / incident / occurred

4. drawers / had / of / customers / recall / The / millions / return

5. $1 million / have / also / promised / to / The / donate / Dudek’s

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: Coming Soon!

American English:

Occurred Settlement Topple
Exceedingly Combined Chain
Awareness Warning Dangers

The global furniture (1)_________ Ikea has recently agreed to pay $46 million to a family whose son died after an accident with a set of their drawers. Ikea is a Swedish home-goods store that has made a name for itself in selling simple, trendy furniture at (2)_______________ low prices. It now boasts locations in more than 50 countries around the world.

Jozef Dudek was only 2-years old when a set of Ikea’s Malm drawers toppled over onto him in May 2017. The incident (3)_____________ at the family’s California home. The $46 million settlement is the largest child wrongful death settlement in US history.

One year before the accident, the drawers had been recalled after killing three other American boys, all under 2-years old. Ikea originally responded to the issue by (4)_______________ customers to use wall mounts with the drawers but announced a recall after the death of the third child. The recall had customers return millions of drawers and was the largest recall in the company’s history. The families of the three boys received a (5)______________ total of $50 million from Ikea in 2016.

The parents of Jozef are justifiably devastated. They have said, “We never thought that a two-year-old could cause a dresser just 30 inches (76cm) high to (6)____________ over and suffocate him”. The couple went on to say, “We are telling our story because we do not want this to happen to another family”. The Dudek’s have also promised to donate $1 million of the (7)_______________ to organisations who help protect children from harmful products.

Going forward, Ikea has agreed to vehemently adhere to U.S. voluntary safety standards for storage units. They have has also said the company would spend money on raising (8)________________ of the design flaw by means of TV advertisements, online campaigns and in-store warnings.

The children’s deaths have also sparked The US Consumer Product Safety Commission to launch an education campaign to get the word out about the (9)_____________ of unstable drawers.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Do you think paying the money is a big enough punishment for Ikea?
5. Have you ever had to return a product because of a recall?
6. Have there been any big recalls in your country?
7. Have you ever been harmed by a product?
8. Would you buy a product that was recalled and then fixed?
9. Would you keep a product that had been recalled?
10. Is Ikea popular in your country?
11. What is Ikea’s reputation in your country?
12. Have you shopped at Ikea before?
13. Is flat-pack furniture popular in your country?
14. Have you assembled your own furniture before?
15. Does your country have any unique or traditional furniture?
16. Have any companies in your country caused death because of their products?
17. What do you think Ikea’s punishment would be in your country?
18. Has your opinion of Ikea furniture changed because of this story?
19. Does your country have high product safety standards?
20. What do you think about the current trend of cheap, trendy stores for clothes, furniture and other items?