Federal agency announces three recalls, issues warning about gaps between elevator doors that can lead to severe injuries or death if a child is trapped
* Consumer Federation of America * Consumer Reports * Kids In Danger *
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumer advocates today praised the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for several new actions to keep children safe from safety hazards tied to home elevators. This morning, the CPSC announced that three manufacturers are recalling a total of approximately 69,000 home elevators to correct a hazardous gap that can exist between the two elevator doors, posing a risk of entrapment and serious injuries to children. The CPSC also issued a warning about elevators made by a fourth company that has not yet issued a recall, and released a new video as a public service announcement about home elevator safety.
Rachel Weintraub, legislative director and general counsel for the Consumer Federation of America, said, “The CPSC’s recall today of residential elevators by three manufacturers is a critically important step in the protection of consumers, and especially children, from this serious and preventable hazard. This life-threatening hazard has impacted too many children and families and has been pervasive for far too long. We welcome CPSC’s actions and look forward to working with the agency and Congress to reduce incidents, protect consumers from this horrific hazard, and ensure that these recalls are effective.”
William Wallace, manager of safety policy for Consumer Reports, said, “Several elevator manufacturers didn’t want to correct this issue, even as children were suffering horrific injuries and being killed in preventable incidents. Sometimes you need a strong regulator to force companies to take action, and that’s what we’re seeing today from the CPSC. It’s outrageous that these companies could create years-long delays through their intransigence. Congress should take a close look at changes to our laws that would help the CPSC force recalls faster.”
Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger, said, “This is a decades-old hazard that has an easy and inexpensive fix. It affects not only families who have an elevator in their home, but also unsuspecting vacation home renters – who may have no idea that an elevator is even in the home. We applaud today’s action by the CPSC to recall some of the dangerous elevators still in use and warn about another. The injuries and deaths suffered in these products are beyond horrific and can be prevented. Whether your own home has an elevator or you rent a vacation home with one, do not use or allow access until it has been retrofitted to be safe.”
According to the CPSC, if there is a gap of more than four inches between an exterior landing door and an interior elevator car door or gate, children who get trapped can suffer serious injuries or death when the elevator is called to another floor. At least three children were entrapped this way during the summer of 2021 alone, with one seven-year-old boy killed at a vacation rental home in North Carolina. In some incidents, children have suffered multiple skull fractures, fractured vertebrae, traumatic asphyxia and other horrific and lifelong injuries.
The safety agency is urging consumers to keep unsupervised young children away from the recalled home elevators and contact the manufacturer for instructions on how to take part in the recall. Space guards, a type of safety device, will be provided free of charge by each of the three recalling companies – Bella Elevator, Inclinator, and Savaria – and free assistance with space guard installation also will be provided upon request. In addition, the CPSC issued a warning today urging consumers to stop using home elevators made by Waupaca, a company that has not yet agreed to recall its products. These actions follow a December 2020 recall of other residential elevators for the same hazard, as well as CPSC’s filing of a lawsuit against ThyssenKrupp Access in July 2021 when the company refused to initiate a recall.
Consumers who rent vacation homes should check with the owner about whether the rental has a residential elevator, and if it does, whether the elevator has been recalled, and whether it has been retrofitted to prevent children from becoming trapped between the outer door and the inner door or gate. Don’t assume that a rental home does not have an elevator just because the description doesn’t mention it, or the posting doesn’t contain an image of an elevator.
Consumer Federation of America: Rachel Weintraub, firstname.lastname@example.org
Consumer Reports: David Butler, email@example.com
Kids In Danger: Nancy Cowles, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of non-profit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 250 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization’s Board of Directors. As a research organization, CFA investigates consumer issues, behavior, and attitudes and publishes these findings in reports that assist consumer advocates and policymakers as well as individual consumers. As an advocacy organization, CFA works to advance pro-consumer policies on a variety of issues before Congress, the White House, federal and state regulatory agencies, state legislatures, and the courts. As an educational organization, CFA disseminates information on consumer issues to the public and news media, as well as to policymakers and other public interest advocates. CFA’s consumer protection work is based upon the premise that consumers deserve a marketplace characterized by fair treatment and services and safe products.
Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports (CR) is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that works with consumers to create a fair and just marketplace. Known for its rigorous testing and ratings of products, CR advocates for laws and company practices that put consumers first. CR is dedicated to amplifying the voices of consumers to promote safety, digital rights, financial fairness, and sustainability. The organization surveys millions of Americans every year, reports extensively on the challenges and opportunities for today’s consumers, and provides ad-free content and tools to 6 million members across the U.S.
Founded in 1998, Kids In Danger (KID) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children by fighting for product safety. KID’s mission is to save lives by enhancing transparency and accountability through safer product development, better education and stronger advocacy for children. KID fulfills its mission by reaching out to caregivers to spread safety awareness and recall information, serving as a watchdog on regulatory agencies and manufacturers, and working with designers and engineers to make safety a top priority. KID analyzes recalled and hazardous children’s products and publishes reports for public education with recommendations for policy makers.