Following at least 14 deaths involving children who suffocated after becoming trapped in recalled cedar chests, federal safety officials are warning that the latch and lock on more than 12 million products sold between 1912 and 1987.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a warning Tuesday, urging consumers to make sure they immediately remove and replace an old style latch and lock on “Lane” and “Virginia Maid” cedar chests.
The lids on the two types of cedar chests automatically lock when closed, which have caused children to become trapped inside. Regulators indicate that they are aware of at least 14 deaths involving children trapped in the cedar chests between 1977 and 2015.
In 1996, the Lane Company recalled 12 million cedar chests due to the risks associated with the automatic locking lids. However, the CPSC is worried millions of consumers who own the recalled cedar chests never returned them or fixed the latches. If a consumer did not replace the latch and lock the cedar chests continue to pose a danger to children.
All “Lane” and “Virginia Maid” brand cedar chests manufactured between 1912 and 1987 have the old style latch and lock. These should be immediately removed by consumers to eliminate the hazard posed to children, according to the CPSC.
The old cedar chests are often purchased second-hand or handed down through families, remaining in consumer homes for generations, complicating the recall and repair efforts.
In 2017, United Furniture Industries, Inc. of Tupelo, Mississippi, acquired the rights to the Lane brand name, and the company is now distributing free replacement latch and locks to consumers who still own the cedar chests.
If a consumer has not received the replacement latch and lock they should immediately remove the old latch and lock and contact United Furniture for a replacement.
The replacement parts should be installed immediately to prevent children from becoming trapped inside the chests and suffocating. Consumers who previously received a free replacement latch and lock from the company should verify the replacement parts are installed correctly.
The cedar chests can be identified by the brand name “Lane” or “Virginia Maid” which is located inside the cedar chest.
Consumers can contact United Furniture toll-free at 877-251-5010, send an email to LaneRepair@ufifurniture.com, or order the free replacement latch and lock online at https://www.lanefurniture.com/about/product-safety.html.