Two Children Die in Massachusetts Entrapment Accident in Hope Chest

Two young siblings are now dead because of an entrapment accident involving a recalled hope chest. The chest had a lid that could not be opened from the inside. Family members discovered Lexi Munroe, 8, and Sean Munroe, 7, together in the chest.

The Munroe family purchased the hope chest over a decade ago and kept it in their home. While the children’s official cause death of death won’t be announced until toxicology test findings come in, investors believe that the Massachusetts entrapment incident was an accident.

According to, the company that manufactured the chest in 1939 says that this is one of 12 million chests that it recalled because of entrapment concerns. Lane Furniture, now owned by Heritage Home Group, recalled hope chests made between 1912 through 1986. At least six children suffocated when they got stuck in a chest and couldn’t get out.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has set up a formal probe into the Munro siblings’ deaths to determine if more education and outreach is needed to warn about the the risks involved. Chests manufactured by other manufacturers may also share the same safety issue, which is that they can only be opened from the outside and lack any mechanism for someone who becomes entrapped inside to set themselves free. (Seeing as it is typically toddlers and young kids that are most likely to crawl into a chest and get stuck inside, any type of release mechanism should be easy to operate.) The Boston Globe reports that according to government documents, in recent decades, at least 15 kids have died due to entrapment in chests, storage containers, trunks, and other such containers and products.

This latest tragic accident is a reminder that even when a product recall is announced, a dangerous item that was purchased previous to the announcement could still be out there, posing a safety hazard to someone years later.

At The Gilbert Law Group®, our child products liability lawyers are familiar with the serious injuries and deaths that can arise when entrapment and suffocation involving an unsafe or faulty product is a factor. Over the years, we have represented many families in holding manufacturers, sellers, and distributors liable.

Unfortunately, entrapment and suffocation continue to be risks associated with children’s products. Suffocation and entrapment have even been linked to cribs and other child sleepers—the last places where you want your child’s life in jeopardy, especially as when they sleeping is when you are most likely to leave them unsupervised.

Just recently the CPSC approved a new federal mandatory standard for bedside sleepers, which is a sleeper product that can be secured to an adult bed. The recent modifications to the previously existing standards include dealing with entrapment hazards associated with these products.

Please contact our child injury lawyers today.


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