Potential deadly risk to kids prompts 3 companies to recall in-home elevators

Three companies that sell in-home elevators have issued voluntary recalls over concerns that children could become trapped inside, posing risks of serious injury or death, federal regulators announced Tuesday.

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Bella Elevator, Inclinator Company of America and Savaria Corp. recalled about 69,000 elevators that pose a risk of pinning children between the elevator car door and the exterior landing door. Children trapped in the gap between the doors could be hurt or killed when the elevator car moves, NPR reported.

According to The Washington Post, the solution is simple: adding a $100 plastic or foam guard that fills in the space between the doors.

The companies said in a joint news release, issued in concert with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, that they will provide customers with free “space guards” that attach to the exterior landing door, filling the potentially problematic gap.

“Today’s announcement also reflects our three companies’ firm, continued commitment to working with our installer partners so that future residential elevators will be installed consistent with voluntary safety standards to eliminate hazardous gaps between home elevator car doors or gates and hoistway doors,” the joint statement read.

The CPSC advised consumers to keep unsupervised children away from the recalled elevators.

“This is an important step that will prevent further harm from potentially tens of thousands of residential elevators,” CPSC chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric said in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, two other elevator manufacturers, ThyssenKrupp Access and Waupaca Residential Elevators, have refused the commission’s request to participate in the voluntary recall. The former was sued by the CPSC in 2021 to force its participation, but the case is ongoing, and the commission issued a separate public warning Tuesday for people to stop using the latter’s products and to lock them down until they can be inspected, the Post reported.

According to NPR, there have been no injuries or deaths linked to the products recalled Tuesday, but fatal accidents and serious injuries have been linked to residential elevators made by other manufacturers. In July, a boy died in a North Carolina vacation rental after being trapped in the home’s elevator. In other incidents, the CPSC said, children have suffered multiple skull fractures, fractured vertebrae and other lifelong injuries.

Meanwhile, Otis recalled some of its residential elevators in December 2020 over the same issue as the current recall, offering free inspections to consumers as well as space guards when necessary, NPR reported.