A federal recall was announced Thursday for storage trunks sold by Minneapolis-based Target Corp. that are being branded a strangulation hazard after two children were injured, one of whom suffered crippling brain damage.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recall involves 350,000 woven storage trunks, and the agency said the department store chain is cooperating.
In a statement Thursday, Target said the trunks were not designed to be used as toy chests or intended for use by small children. The company urged anyone who bought the trunks from Target and have small children in their home to return the trunks to Target for a full refund.
The CPSC said in its notice that the trunk's lid can drop suddenly when released, "posing a strangulation hazard to small children opening or reaching into the trunks."
On July 20, 18-month-old Camryn Surman of suburban Pittsburgh suffered brain damage when the lid came down on the back of her neck and pinned her throat against the rim. The family sued Target in March for medical expenses and pain and suffering on behalf of Camryn, who was using the trunk as a toy box.
Target "specifically endorsed the storage of children's toys as one of the intended uses" of the trunks, the lawsuit reads. The suit added that the trunk, bought online, came with no warnings or limitations about its use and lacked any safety mechanism.
A court filing late last month by Target challenged the Surmans' contentions that the trunk was defective or that the company was negligent.
The recall covers 14 models of the trunks made of woven rattan, abaca or banana leaf. They were sold only at Target stores nationwide and at Target.com from February 2009 through April 2010. They were priced from $50 to $130 and were made in China and the Philippines.
Consumers are being directed to immediately stop using the trunks and return them to Target for a full refund or a different product.