After the deaths of two siblings in Massachusetts, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has renewed its warning to consumers about the risks associated with storage, hope, cedar and toy chests. Millions of storage chests and toy boxes pose the risk of automatically closing and latching shut.
As a result of the chests latching shut young children can become trapped and possibly suffocate inside the chests. The risks are especially noticeable in regards to older toy chests or storage containers that have lids that do not prevent the lid from suddenly closing.
Children often in play hide in places like toy chest and while hiding or falling asleep in a place like that small children can become entrapped when the lid latches shut or locked. These types of chests often provide no ventilation and are airtight resulting in suffocation when children do become trapped.
Alternatively the lids on containers such as this that provide no safety part to prevent the lids from falling can lead to the lids falling on a child as the reach into the chest for something. In instances where there is a small child involved the lid may be too heavy to free themselves and they can be strangled as they’re head or neck is trapped between the lid and walls of the chest.
Chests that are been found to pose these risks are cedar chests, hope chests, cedar boxes, storage benches, storage trunks, and toy boxes. Older boxes that can often create a higher risk then newer storage chests are often passed down as family heirlooms or purchased at resale stores.
CPSC is aware of 34 deaths since 1996 involving children under the age of 18, related to chests with lids that do not remain open or latch automatically. Unfortunately in January of 2014, both a brother and sister suffocated to death after being trapped inside a 75-year-old cedar chest, which had previously been recalled in1996. It is imperative that individuals, especially those who have the occasion to have small children in their homes, remain informed about recalled items that they may own in order to avoid tragic events such as the death or injury.
Companies have taken action to correct over 14 million toy and storage chests that pose similar risks. If you own a chest or storage box, which has a lid that does not keep the lid in a supported position, the lid should be removed and replaced with a spring-loaded lid that will keep it in an open position. If you or a loved one own or have purchased a chest or box that does not remain in a safe open position when opened contact the manufacture to inquire about potential recall and take precautions to avoid injuries.