Earlier this 2015 legislative session, Delegate O’Donnell introduced House Bill 415- Cedar Hope Chests – Prohibition on Manufacture, Import, and Sale. This bill, otherwise known as Mckenna’s Law, prohibits the sale of cedar hope chests that have the internal lock design identified by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Once these chests close, the lids lock automatically and the chest can only be opened from the outside. These chests pose a risk of suffocation death to children that climb inside and close the chest.
In 1996, roughly 12 million Lane Furniture and Virginia Maid cedar hope chests were recalled with manufacturing dates from 1912 to 1987 for their outside-only locks. Despite the efforts that stemmed from this safety recall, around 6 million cedar hope chests remain in circulation without safety upgrade. Unfortunately, 34 children since 1996 have suffocated due to entrapment in these chests. As recently as January 2015, 8-year-old and 7-year-old siblings from Franklin, Massachusetts became victims of this same fate. According to doctors, suffocation can occur in 15 minutes or less. In any given case, a child can die before a parent even knows they are missing.
These chests sit in homes all over the country, but many people are unaware of the dangers they pose to children. Fortunately, Lane Furniture offers free lock replacement to those with the old cedar hope chest locks. The locks are easily installed and come with instructions on how to do so. To receive a new lock for your cedar hope chest you can contact Lane Furniture, toll free at (800)-327-6944 or order a new replacement online at www.lanefurniture.com. The most effective way to ensure all children’s safety is to share this information with those you know so that they can make sure they have the proper lock on their cedar hope chest.