Two 4-Year-Olds Die in Toy Box

No charges have been filed in Jacksonville deaths
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2023 10:01 AM CDT
Two 4-Year-Olds Die in Toy Box
Officials say the medical examiner will determine how the children died.   (Getty Images/Motortion)

Two 4-year-olds in Jacksonville died last weekend in what is believed to be a tragedy that federal regulators have long sought to prevent. The children "were pronounced deceased after they were found unresponsive in a footlocker/toybox while playing at home," the Florida Department of Children and Families said in a post on its child fatality page. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the children were found around noon Saturday when an adult went to check on them, News4Jax reports. Emergency workers were unable to resuscitate them.

The sheriff's office said adults and other children in the home were interviewed by investigators, FirstCoastNews reports. The sheriff's office said there were no signs of trauma. No charges have been filed in the case. Authorities have not confirmed the cause of death or disclosed details of the box involved, but deaths from suffocation in "storage, cedar, hope, and toy chests" are all too common, the Consumer Products Safety Commission said in a warning issued after two siblings died after locking themselves in a hope chest in Massachusetts in 2014. The CPSC said makers had recalled "14 million toy and storage chests that posed a suffocation, strangulation, or injury risk" and it was working to ensure such chests were not resold at thrift stores and other outlets.

The commission's advice to parents: For "chests that have not been recalled but have an automatic latch/lock, disable or remove the lock and check with the chest manufacturer to see if the manufacturer is offering replacement hardware. If the lid support does not keep the lid open in every position, you should remove the lid's support or replace it with a spring-loaded lid support that will keep the lid open in any position. Remove or replace an unsafe adjustable lid support on these toy chests. In addition, all toy chests should have ventilation holes that are not blocked by the floor or against the wall." (More Jacksonville stories.)

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