Safety agency asks AirBnB, VRBO rental owners to disable elevators after boy's death at Outer Banks

OUTER BANKS, N.C. -- The Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging vacation rental companies to require owners to disable at-home elevators following the death of a child in North Carolina.

Earlier this month, a boy from Ohio died after he became trapped between an elevator car and the elevator shaft inside a vacation rental home.

Emergency workers responded to the home in Corolla and found the 7-year-old boy without a pulse and trapped by the elevator. Rescuers were able to quickly free him but were unable to resuscitate him.

In a letter to AirBnB, VRBO, and others, the CPSC said residential elevators "can pose a deadly but unforeseen hazard to children."

"Small children can be crushed to death in a deadly gap that may exist between the doors," the letter said. "If the gap is too deep between any exterior door and the farthest point of the inner door, a child can enter and close the hoist way door without opening the interior car door, and become entrapped between the two doors, resulting in serious injuries or death when the elevator car moves."

The CPSC said the gaps can be made safer by placing space guards on the hoist way doors or by using electronic monitoring devices that deactivate elevators when a child is detected in the gap.

The Associated Press contributed.
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