One model of a Cavalier chest, which locks automatically and can trap and suffocate children.
One model of a Cavalier chest, which locks automatically and can trap and suffocate children.
Photo: CPSC

Three children suffocated to death between 2004 and 2019 after being trapped inside cedar chests made by Cavalier, according to an announcement today from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The government agency is urging consumers who own the cedar chests to remove the latch or lock on the products immediately. When the lid closes, it locks automatically, presenting a serious danger to children.

Joe Martyak, a spokesperson for the CPSC, said the warning was issued today because the agency recently became aware of the deadly incidents linked to the chests and decided it was “very important to alert the public to this life-threatening hazard.”

There is no product recall because the Cavalier Corporation went out of business years ago.

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The CPSC’s announcement stated that many thousands of the Cavalier chests, which have been on the market since the early 1900s, likely remain in people’s homes. The products are also still being sold at antique stores, at secondhand stores, and by consumers through online marketplaces across the country.

Note that not all of the chests look like the product featured on the CPSC website, or pictured above, because they were sold in multiple styles.

While some of the chests contain the Cavalier company logo and name printed inside the lid, others do not. If you suspect you have one of the chests, be sure to remove the product’s latch or lock immediately. If you intend to sell the product, remove the latch or lock first.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, go to SaferProducts.gov.