According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Big Lots is issuing a recall of approximately 30,000 metal futon bunk beds. The hazard identified related to the potential for children to be entrapped behind the futon, or in the ladder of the bunk bed when the futon is lowered from the seated to flat position.
As of June, 2011, one death was reported as a result of the defective feature of the bunk bed. In that reported incident, a three-year-old boy died when his head and neck became entrapped in the bed. The weight of the metal frame prevented the young boy from breathing and freeing himself. Ultimately, he died of compression asphyxiation.
Another hazard associated with the bunk beds in question involves the space between the last rung on the bed’s ladder and the futon mattress, which is too small. Although a child’s body can pass through this gap, his or her head cannot, with the potential for head entrapment.
The recall involves metal futon bunk beds with model number BFB100. Consumers should stop using these bunk beds immediately.
While proper labeling, recalls and regulations are important for safety of children’s products, manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure only safe products reach the marketplace, avoiding the potential to cause catastrophic injury. The millions of dangerous products flooding retail store shelves before their hazards are identified highlight the inadequacy of current safety protocols. There is simply no excuse for companies to sell dangerous beds and other children’s products to consumers. The burden must be on manufacturers and retailers, not consumers, to identify hazards before products enter the channels of commerce.