Federal safety regulators have recalled a slew of residential elevators over the years due to life-threatening hazards to children, and September is proving to be a case in point, with three such recalls issued this month alone. .
All three recalls involve a relatively inexpensive problem to fix with space guards or electronic monitoring devices that disable elevators after a child is detected in a gap between the inner and outer doors, according to the US Consumer Product. Safety Commission.
One of the recalls involves some of the 15,200 home elevators made by Custom Elevator, more than a year after a child was crushed to death after being trapped in one of the products, according to the agency and the company.
Theat a beach rental house in the Outer Banks of North Carolina in July 2021. Found between the bottom of the elevator cab and the frame of the upper door of the house, the boy’s neck was crushed after he apparently got stuck between the inner accordion door of the moving elevator and the outer door. The death prompted the take steps to protect young children from certain residential elevators.
The custom elevator recall, announced Thursday, is specific to elevators used in private homes and manufactured by the Plumsteadville, Pa., company with hydraulic drives or winding-drum drives. The products were sold to contractors nationwide from 2003 through August 2022 for between $10,000 and $25,000, excluding installation costs.
People with elevators should keep young children away from them and contact the company for free space guards to clear any unsafe space. Custom Elevator can be reached toll-free at (888) 443-2800 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.
Another recall, also announced Thursday, involves approximately 1,700 home elevators made in Canada by Cambridge Elevating and sold nationwide from 1991 through August 2022 for between $12,000 and $60,000, including installation.
Space guards will be provided free of charge by the company, which can be contacted at (866) 207-6551 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. No injuries related to Cambridge products have been reported, according to the recall notice.
In 2015, Coastal Carolina Elevators recalled approximately 240 residential elevators manufactured by Cambridge Elevating after three reported incidents, including one that resulted in catastrophic brain injury to a 10-year-old boy from Baltimore, Maryland.
Earlier this month, on September 14, the CPSC said it had settled a claim against thyssenkrupp Access Corp., now known as TK Access Solutions, involving three incidents in its elevators, including the 2017 death of a two-year-old child and one case in 2010 that permanently disabled a three-year-old child.
As part of the settlement, the Grandview, Mo.-based company is recalling about 16,800 residential elevators to inspect them and install space guards, if needed. The recalled products sold for between $15,000 and $25,000 through 2012. Owners can call (800) 285-9862 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
The danger includes elevators made by other companies, with The Washington Post in July 2019 reporting that residential elevators as a whole have resulted in the death of at least eight children and two seriously injured since 1981.
After decades of lawsuits, the National Elevator Safety Code narrowed the gap between doors in 2017, but the new rules only impacted new installations, leaving hundreds of thousands of elevators existing ones posing a mortal danger to small bodies.
According to the CPSC, residential elevators are commonly found in multi-level homes, townhouses, vacation homes, and rentals, as well as larger homes that have been converted into inns or bed and breakfasts. But elevators have proven heartbreaking for some vacationing families.
Safety advocates have for years warned of disasters involving children and home elevators, including the parents of then-10-year-old Jordan Nelson who was paralyzed in 2013 in an elevator accident at a beach rented by his family in South Carolina. “He’s got these huge dimples, that dazzling smile and he just knew how to work it,”.