A hope chest where a young Massachusetts brother and sister died after apparently becoming trapped had been recalled by the manufacturer years ago. This was indeed a tragic incident. Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey, who has been investigating the case, said preliminary autopsy results indicate the deaths of the 8-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy at their Franklin home on Jan. 12 were accidental. At press time, toxicology tests were still pending. The chest, which had a lid that could only be opened from the outside, was made in 1939 by the Lane Furniture Company of Altavista, Va.
In 1996, Lane recalled 12 million cedar chests with lids that automatically latch shut after receiving reports of six children suffocating inside. In 2000, Lane – in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – called for a renewed search for the chests after becoming aware of another suffocation death and two near fatalities. District Attorney Morrissey said people who own similar chests, which also were made by other companies, should check on them. He stated:
If you close the lid and have to press or manipulate something on its exterior to get it to open, we urge you to contact the manufacturer for guidance or consider disabling the mechanism yourself.
Lane’s current owner, St. Louis-based Heritage Home Group, said it will continue to make replacement locks available to people who own its chests. The company says that consumers should remove the latch plate until a replacement is provided or the chest’s safety is verified.
Source: Claims Journal
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