Could Your Hope Chest Be A Danger To A Child?

1953 Lane Company Hope Chest

I had always admired my aunt’s hope chest.  She had told me it was an engagement gift from her fiancé. At one time it was filled with items that she would need after she became a bride.  I don’t think it ever occurred to her that this beautiful cedar box used to store treasures could be potentially dangerous to a child.  She had promised me that when she died the hope chest would become mine.

When I inherited this hope chest it never ran through my mind that what I had just brought into my home was a potentially dangerous piece of furniture.  I had never heard the warnings or the announced recalls.

Recently when I heard the tragic news of two children, ages 7 and 8, who had been trapped in a hope chest and died, I was overwhelmed with sadness.  As more details emerged surrounding this horrific ordeal I learned that the top of this hope chest when closed automatically latched and could not be opened from the inside.  This hope chest was manufactured by the Lane Company of Virginia.  And that hope chest was one of millions that had been recalled.

I did not know that the hope chest that occupies my living room had the potential to snatch away the life of a child.  And I am sure that the parents of Lexi and Sean Munroe didn’t know either.

My recalled Lane hope chest made in 1953 no longer has a latch! It took me about five minutes to remove the top latch. The hope chest looks no different. I have no reason for a lock but if you do you can get a replacement lock from Lane furniture for free by either calling or emailing the company.

1953 Lane Company Hope Chest

In 1996 and again in 2000 the Lane Company issued a recall on their hope chests made between the years 1912-1987 due to several children getting trapped inside and suffocating.  What scares me tremendously is that according to their website there is an estimated 6 million hope chests that need latches replaced!  I am sure there are many people who possess these recalled hope chests and do not know anything about the danger or the recall.  Take me for example. My aunt died a year before the first recall.  If the company sent her a recall letter she would have never received it.  This company did not know where the hope chest went or that I inherited it.  My grandchildren played around this potentially dangerous hope chest.  I shiver at the thought that one of my grandchildren could have decided to get inside.

There are many other manufactures that have produced hope chests with latches that can only be unlocked from the outside, trapping a child inside.  If you have a hope chest made by any manufacturers it’s important that you check the latch!

PLEASE help spread the word of these potentially dangerous hope chests.  I don’t want to hear one more story of a child dying this way!  These days’ social media is the best way to bring about awareness so if you’d please share this it could possibly save a child’s life.

© Cheryl Wright 2014



  1. Oh my goodness! Who would have thought that a hope chest become become a death chest. How horrible for the parents of those 2 children who died. I can’t imagine the horror of that. Thank goodness your grandchildren were not harmed. I will share this post around for you to help spread the word. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for spreading awareness about hidden dangers. Thankfully we have no such piece of furniture. We do have a lift-top table that becomes a lap-tray and has storage for a blanket on the other side, but I don’t see my kids being too curious about it. I do worry that the older kids would put the baby in there for laughs.

    What gave you the idea to remove the latch? Do your kids play in that hope chest?

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