A family in Massachusetts is reeling after two of their children, ages 7 and 8, died after climbing into an old hope chest, which slammed shut and locked, suffocating them inside.
The chest was made by Lane Furniture of Virginia. In 1996, after reports of six children suffocating to death, the company recalled all Lane and Virginia Maid brand cedar chests produced between 1912 and 1987.
Still, one more child suffocated, and the company was reportedly fined for failure to get the word out. Now the word is spreading again.
It’s not clear if the family’s Lane chest was one of those models recalled, but their terrible loss made many others aware that a lot of old hope chests have these exterior-only locks.
Last night, I set on my grandmother’s with a hammer and broke the lock. You might want to check yours.
Note: If you have a chest from Lane Furniture with the outside-only lock, you can contact them to get a free safety lock (which does open from the inside) to replace it. More info here.