Today, the Accessibility Equipment Manufacturers Association (AEMA) and the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) join me in warning consumers with home elevators and visitors to homes with elevators to protect small children from a deadly gap that may exist between the doors. The distance between the inner elevator car door and the room access door (hoistway door) on home elevators may be too wide, allowing a small child to enter the space and close the room access door without opening the elevator car door. If this happens, the child can be seriously injured or killed when the elevator moves.
Residential elevators are commonly found in multi-level homes, townhomes, vacation homes and rentals, and in large homes that have been converted to inns or bed-and-breakfast hotels.
CPSC is aware of several tragic incidents in which children became entrapped between the doors leading to death, serious fractures, traumatic asphyxia, and lifelong injuries.
We are urging consumers to have a qualified elevator inspector examine their home elevator for this dangerous gap and other potential safety hazards, inspecting to the latest safety standard, ASME A17.1 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators.
Dangerous gaps can be eliminated by placing space guards on the back of the room access door or installing an electronic monitoring device that deactivates the elevator when a child is detected in the gap. We also urge consumers to contact their elevator manufacturer or an elevator installer to obtain these critical safety devices and protect children from this hidden hazard.
We advise consumers to report any safety incident involving residential elevators at: www.SaferProducts.gov.
If the gap is too large, a small child can become entrapped between the room access door and the elevator car door.