Parents should stop putting young children to sleep in bunk beds with frame openings larger than 3 1/2 inches because the kids could strangle trying to crawl through, the government warned Tuesday.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission said it was recalling more than 320,000 wooden bunk beds by 11 different manufacturers because of potentially hazardous spaces in the headboards and footboards of the top bunks.
Consumers were urged to have any faulty beds repaired.
“These beds create an entrapment hazard,” commission chairman Ann Brown said at a news conference, standing in front of two versions of bunk beds.
Brown used a life-sized doll to demonstrate how an infant can wiggle through a large opening in the guardrail of the faulty bed, only to be left dangling by the neck because its head was too big to pass through.
“This can happen in any space that’s more than 3 1/2 inches,” she said.
Openings between the mattress and frame, and the bed and a wall, which is sometimes used as a guard, pose additional strangulation hazards.
Brown said 24 children - 20 of them under age 6 - became trapped and died between 1990 and 1994 in beds with similar spacing hazards in their top bunks.