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CPSC Issues Consumer Warning After Children Found Unresponsive in Hope Chest

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a warning in response to the tragic incident in which two young siblings were found unresponsive after being locked in a hope chest on Sunday evening.

According to investigators, the two children had been playing in the chest and accidently locked themselves inside and were unable to unlock it. Officials reported that the lid could only be released from the outside, not from within.

In 1996, the Lane Company issued a voluntary recall for 12 million hope chests with lids that automatically shut when closed after reports that a half dozen children had suffocated inside the chests. The company also offered customers the option of installing safety locks on cedar chests with latches.

The CPSC has since ordered customers buying new hope chests to make sure that it has a lid support that will hold the lid open at any position, or to purchase chests that do not have lids or with lightweight, removable lids, or chests with sliding doors or panels to prevent a falling lid. The CPSC has also told customers who’ve been handed down hope chests by family members to ensure the product has ventilation holes that will not be blocked if the chest is placed against the wall, when closed, and leaves a space between the lid and the sides of the chest.

While this case is complex in that it involves a product that had already been previously recalled, the individuals/family involved may still have grounds to file a products liability lawsuit. Under United States law, product manufacturers, designers, distributers and wholesalers, and sellers, are responsible for ensuring that their consumer products are safe for consumption or use. If and when failure to guarantee this, results in serious injury or even death, victims or their families may be entitled to filing for damages against all liable parties of the incident. In this case, the seller of the hope chest as well as the manufacturer may be responsible, and thus liable to pay compensatory damages to the family of these two deceased children.

Hundreds of products are recalled each year, and still thousands of people are injured as a result of defective products. If you or a loved one was the victim of a defective product and you believe you may have grounds to file a products liability lawsuit, call the law offices of Altman & Altman to discuss your case with one of our experienced Boston Products Liability Attorneys. Upon initial assessment of your case, we will determine whether you may or may not qualify for compensation for your injuries and will determine the best route for achieving a successful settlement of your case. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment. All initial consultations are completely free of charge, and our attorneys are available around the clock to answer any questions you may have about your case.