WASHINGTON – The recent suffocaton deaths of two children who became trapped in a 75-year-old Lane cedar chest, prompted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to reissue its warning to consumers about the dangers linked with storage, cedar, hope and toy chests.
The warning comes on the heels of a January incident in which a brother and sister in Massachusetts suffocated to death after becoming trapped inside the cedar chest that had been part of a massive recall of 12 million chests in 1996. Despite the recall, CPSC said it has received reports of 34 deaths since 1996 involving children younger than 18, who became entrapped in a storage or toy chest.
CPSC siad lids on storage chests and trunks can automatically latch shut, locking children inside and suffocating them. In addition, the lid supports on older toy chests can fail to stop the lid from closing quickly, entrapping or strangling children by the head and neck.
Types of chests with these hazards include toy chests, cedar chests, cedar trunks, cedar boxes, hope chests, blanket chests, storage benches, and storage trunks. CPSC is advising consumers to remove the latch from the recalled Lane and Virginia Maid brand cedar chest made between 1912 and 1987 and to contact Lane for free replacement hardware.
For all other chests that have not been recalled but have an automatic latch/lock, disable or remove the lock and check with the chest manufacturer to see if the manufacturer is offering replacement hardware.
In December 2010, the CPSC banned the sale and resale of drop-side cribs, citing that the popular infant sleep products were linked to more than than 30 children's deaths and more than 11 million recalls during the first decade of the 21st century. The ban went into effect in June 2011 and includes thrift stores, garage sales and online transactions. In addition, the rule requires child-care centers and hotels to stop using drop-side cribs.
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