Lane Home Furnishings and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are renewing a 1996 recall of cedar chests following the suffocating deaths of a brother and sister in Massachusetts last month. In a Feb. 27 press release, the CPSC and Lane are urging consumers to check the latches on all Lane and Virginia Maid brand hope chests.
Chests manufactured between 1912 and 1987 have a self-locking latch than cannot be released from the inside, creating a suffocation hazard for children. Cedar chests manufactured after 1987 do not have the automatic latching feature and do not pose a threat.
Lane originally recalled these products in 1996 after six children were reported to have suffocated when trapped inside. Between 1996 and 2000, an additional death and two near-fatalities were reported.
Lane is offering free replacement latches that do not automatically latch. According to Lane, 12 million chests were sold with the unsafe latch. Six million of these have not yet been refitted with the new latches.
Consumers that identify one of these cedar chests in their home should immediately remove the latch and contact Lane for replacement hardware at the company website or by calling (800) 327-6944, Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT. When contacting Lane, consumers should have the serial number and style number on hand. These numbers may be found on the bottom or back of the chest.