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  • CPSC Warns Consumers About the Risk of Child Entrapment in Residential Elevators

    child entrapmentOver this past summer, at least three children were entrapped in residential elevators that were produced by some of the nation’s leading elevator manufacturing companies. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), one of the children sustained fatal injuries. The other two young victims suffered an array of grievous injuries, including fractured vertebrae, skull fractures, and traumatic asphyxia.

    In a recent effort to shield children from the serious entrapment risks associated with residential elevators, the CPSC lodged three successful recalls. The three manufacturers each agreed to comply with the agency’s requests. The CPSC also warned consumers against using elevators manufactured by a fourth company, which has refused to recall them despite a slew of documented safety concerns.

    This is not the first time that the CPSC has warned Americans about the deadly dangers that some models of residential elevators create for children, especially those between the ages of two and twelve. According to the agency, residential elevators have a “hidden and deadly hazard”: children can be entrapped between the gap, or hoistway, that sometimes exists between the exterior door and the farthest point of the inner door. Twenty-two people have died in home elevator accidents – mostly young children – and a number of others have sustained permanent, disabling injuries.

    Recall Details

    If an elevator has a gap larger than four inches, it can entrap a child when it begins to move to another floor. The CPSC’s recalls extend to several different elevator models manufactured by three companies: Bella Elevator LLC, Inclincator Company of America, and Savaria and Garaventa. The CPSC also named over ten elevator models manufactured by a fourth company called Waupaca Elevator, Inc. Despite there being records of a four-year-old becoming entrapped and sustaining permanent vision loss and physical scarring in a Waupaca residential elevator, the company turned down the CPSC’s petition for it to recall its dangerous and defective models from the market.

    The CPSC’s official recommendation is for consumers to keep their children away from certain residential elevators manufactured by Waupaca, Bella, Inclinator, and Savaria and Garaventa. Here are the details for each manufacturer:

    • Approximately 20,000 elevators that Savaria and Garaventa manufactured between 1999 and 2021. The company’s recalled models include the Eclipse, Infinity, MR, HR, and Kwiklift
    • Nearly 40,000 residential elevators manufactured by Inclinator Company of America. Their names are the Winding Drum, Chain Drive, Hydraulic Drive, Traction Drive, and Overhead Cable Drum
    • More than 10,000 Bella brand elevators that the company manufactured between 2009 and 2021. The recalled models include the Winding Drum, the Symmetry IGD, and the Hydraulic
    • According to the CPSC, Waupaca-manufactured elevators numbered 008, 010, 014, 015, 016, 018, 021, 022, 110, 114, 115, 116, 118, and 210 are unsafe for consumer use and pose child-specific risks. Waupaca manufactured the elevators between 1979 and 2021

    The CPSC has a history of being proactive when it comes to protecting children from the dangers associated with hazardous residential elevators. In 2019, the agency sued Thyssenkrupp Access Corp. when the manufacturer refused to recall its elevators after three separate catastrophes. In one instance a two-year-old was killed, in another a four-year-old was hospitalized, and lastly a three-year-old sustained permanent injuries. The risks are real and the consequences sometimes deadly for the innocent children of unsuspecting homeowners and individuals who rent or visit residences with elevators.

    If you have one of these elevators in your residence, it is crucial to keep unsupervised children away from it. For the most part, authorized retailers sold the elevators; in some cases, they were sold directly to customers. Affected consumers should contact the manufacturer in order to receive instructions on how to measure for a space guard that can correct the dangerous gap. The three manufacturers that are complying with the CPSC’s recall will provide space guards to customers free of charge. The companies will also provide assistance with installation if a consumer requests it. To learn more about the CPSC’s recalls, click here.

    Although accidents involving elevators may not be too common, when they do happen, they can wreak havoc. Galfand Berger has handled these complex cases on our client’s behalf.  And, won.  In one case, our client suffered injuries to various parts of her body while stepping out of an elevator that continued to move upwards after the doors opened, causing her to step out into thin air and fall to the floor.  We resolved this matter for $700,000.00.  Read more here.

    If you or your child sustained injuries from a dangerous or defective elevator, someone at our firm can help. To learn more, contact a representative online now.

    Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947

    If your child sustained injuries from being entrapped in an elevator and you would like to pursue a just recovery of damages, contact our Philadelphia products liability lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.

    1-800-222-USWA (8792)