Washington, DC (WLTX) -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission is renewing its warning to consumers about the dangers associated with storage, cedar, hope and toy chests.
It comes following the deaths of two children in Massachusetts who suffocated to death after becoming trapped inside a 75-year-old Lane cedar chest recalled in 1996.
CPSC has received reports of 34 deaths since 1996 involving children younger than 18.
Lids on millions of 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 prevent the lid from closing suddenly, entrapping or strangling children by the head or neck.
The agency is now working with thrift shops, Goodwill and the Salvation Army to take steps to ensure that resale store managers and staff do not accept or sell chests that have been recalled or pose a danger to children.
About 27 companies have taken action to correct more than 14 million toy and storage chests that posed a suffocation, strangulation or injury risk.
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.
Twelve million chests were recalled in 1996. 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.If the lid support does not keep the lid open in every position, you should remove the lid's support or replace it with a spring-loaded lid support that will keep the lid open in any position. Remove or replace an unsafe adjustable lid support on these toy chests. In addition, all toy chests should have ventilation holes that are not blocked by the floor or against the wall. These are key safety provisions of the federal toy standard, ASTM F963-07.
Contact Lane toll-free at (800) 327-6944, Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT, or access their web site at http://www.lanefurniture.com/ to order the free replacement hardware. Consumers should have the chest's serial and style numbers, which are branded on the outside bottom or back of the chest, available when contacting Lane.