Community Interest

Lane Cedar Chests Linked to Suffocation Deaths - Free Replacement Latches Available

A 7-year-old boy and his 8-year-old sister died in Franklin, Massachusetts on January 12, 2014 after getting trapped in a Lane cedar chest in their home. The chest was equipped with a latch that could only be opened from the outside. Despite the fact that adults were home at the time of the incident, the children were not found in time.

In 1996, Lane recalled 12 million cedar chests made between 1912 and 1987 with lids that automatically latch shut when closed after receiving reports of six children suffocating inside. In 2000 — in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission — Lane called for a renewed search for the chests after becoming aware of another suffocation death and two near fatalities.  There are thousands of chests estimated to still be in use with the old locks. Chests made after 1987 have new safety locks which do not automatically latch after the lid is closed.

Consumers who own Lane cedar/hope chests with the auto-latching closures can request a replacement lock free of charge from  To get a new lock, owners will need to provide the style number and serial number which is stamped on the back or bottom of the chest, and know if the latch in the lid is rectangular or oval in shape.