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After 'Going Through Hell,' Couple Raising Awareness On IKEA Recall

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A tragedy in Minnesota is helping bring attention to an international recall.

Furniture company IKEA is recalling nearly 36 million MALM dressers and chests after six deaths.

One of the victims was 22-month old Teddy McGee, of Apple Valley, who died in February.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports the dressers pose a threat to children because they can topple over if they are not anchored securely to walls.

Parents Jeremy and Janet McGee spoke out for the first time on Tuesday.

The McGees said they had not heard about the dangers of the MALM dresser before their son died.

"When Ted was here, we always said what a blessing he was," Janet McGee said. "He was a gift from God."

Teddy McGee was napping last Valentine's Day and his parents were checking in on him every 15 minutes.

"I opened the door and I saw his bed was empty," Janet McGee said. "I guess I just thought I would open it further and see him playing on other side of the door but that is not what happened."

Jeremy and Janet McGee will never forget digging through the tipped over dresser drawers to reach Teddy.

Paramedics arrived and took the child to the hospital where he later passed away.

"Pretty soon his heartbeat went away and our prayer turned from 'God please save him' to 'God, please take good care of him,'" Janet McGee said.

The MALM dresser had already killed two other children before Teddy.

In the last month, after pressure from Congress and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said IKEA has issued the largest furniture safety recall in American history and is offering to send technicians to customers' homes to help them anchor the furniture.

Ikea also released videos about safety featuring the Swedish company's CEO.

"This means notices go out on television," Klobuchar said. "They have really offered to do things that are somewhat unprecedented."

The McGee's said none of the recent efforts will bring their son back, but it could help save another life.

"In the last five months we have gone through hell," Jeremy McGee said. "We don't want any other parents to go through this kind of hell."

The McGee's are considering taking legal action against IKEA.

Klobuchar is co-sponsoring a bill that directs the CPSC to adopt stronger mandatory stability standards for furniture that could tip over.

CPSC reports a child is injured from tipped furniture or a TV every 24 minutes.

Here are some helpful tips regarding recalls and anchoring furniture.

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