FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 1983
Release #83-041

Washington, D.C. -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission in cooperation with the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association today warned consumers that children's circular expandable wooden enclosures may present a potential strangulation hazard to children due to neck or head entrapment in V-shaped openings along the top edge and diamond shaped openings in the sides of the enclosures.

Since 1980, the Commission staff has conducted investigations of three deaths and one incident of brain damage involving unsupervised children whose necks became entrapped in the V-openings along the top edge of the enclosures, apparently as they were attempting to climb out of the enclosures. In addition, the staff has investigated or received reports of 4 incidents involving minor or no injuries to children whose heads became entrapped in the diamond shaped openings in the sides of the enclosures.

The enclosures are constructed of criss-cross wooden slats riveted together which expand to form continuous circular structures of varying diameters and which are used primarily to restrict the movement of young children to the area within the enclosure. They have been sold nationwide through various retail and children's products stores over the past 15-20 years for approximately $20-$40 per unit.

The Commission estimates that approximately 239,000 of the more than 500,000 enclosures produced are presently in use.

In the opinion of the CPSC staff, it is dangerous to leave children unattended in the enclosure without close continuous supervision. The Commission is aware of incidents which occurred after children had been left for only a short period of time. This is of particular concern since the enclosures are intended to keep children away from other hazards and consumers may leave children unattended, believing them to be safe.

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association is working to develop a voluntary standard to reduce the possibility of injury associated with enclosures, and manufacturers voluntarily stopped production and sale of the existing style of the enclosures pending development and adoption of the safety standard.

In the opinion of CPSC staff, owners of the expandable enclosures should discontinue using them.

Anyone wishing additional information may contact the CPSC toll-free Hotline at 800-638-CPSC. the teletypewriter number for the hearing impaired is (301) 595-7054.

Children's Expandable Enclosures

In contrast, mesh-style baby gates have no opening large enough for a child's head to become entrapped, and CPSC has no reports of deaths or "near-misses" with these baby gates. Accordion-style baby gates have V-shaped and diamond-shaped openings in which children can get their heads trapped. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has reports of 7 deaths and 17 "near-misses" eith these baby gates.