The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has renewed its warning about the dangers associated with storage, cedar, hope and toy chests. At least 34 deaths have been reported since 1996 involving children under the age of 18, including a brother and sister who became trapped in a cedar chest in January and suffocated.

Lids on many of these containers latch automatically, locking children inside the airtight compartments and resulting in suffocation deaths. Additionally, older chests may have lid supports that no longer function properly, which can result in entrapping or strangling children if the lid drops suddenly.

Twelve million chests were recalled in 1996. CPSC is working in conjunction with several organization, including the National Association of Resale Thrift Shops, Goodwill industries and the Salvation Army, to make sure recalled chests aren’t accepted for resell.

The agency urges consumers not to buy recalled chests that haven’t been repaired to meet higher safety standards. Approximately 27 companies have worked to correct more than 14 million storage and toy chests to ensure safety. If you own a Lane and Virginia Maid brand cedar chest made between 1912 and 1987, CPSC advises you to remove the latch and contact Lane for free replacement hardware.

For chests that have an automatic lock or latch but haven’t been recalled, the agency recommends removing the lock or latch and checking with the manufacturer to see if they offer a replacement. Lid support systems should also be checked to make sure it keeps the lid open in every position. If it doesn’t, remove the support or replace it with a spring-loaded lid support.

All toy chests should have ventilation holes that are not blocked against a wall or by the floor, as per federal toy safety standards.

If your or your child has been hurt by a dangerous or defective product, contact the Houston personal injury attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  today to learn your rights.