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Elevator accidents are the worst of the best-kept secrets

Are you thinking about installing an elevator in your home? They can be extremely helpful for an elderly parent who has moved in or a spouse who needs a wheelchair after a serious car accident. You might just want to add one as a decorative touch.

You would not be alone either. Elevators have become increasingly popular for residential use. Of course, the large contraptions found in hotels and skyscrapers would not be practical for a small home. It is a reason why manufacturers created the swing-door elevator.

Retailers sold approximately 5,000 annually in the years leading up to 2013, when there were an estimated 125,000 elevators in use according to FairWarning. The consumer-protection group published the data in a story about the best-kept secret in the industry.

While the personal-use elevators are popular, most people do not know about the inherent risk that they pose to children. It is something that anyone planning to install one in his or her home needs to know about.

What makes swing-door elevators dangerous?

The swing-door models are discreet, tucked behind a typical pantry or closet door. This feature makes them extremely dangerous for children. It creates a gap between the elevator door and the door in your home. The gap is just big enough for children to get in, but not big enough for them to maneuver their way out easily.

When the elevator begins to move, it can crush the child between levels. After one family watched their boy suffer injuries that nearly took his life and altered it forever in 2010, they began to dig. They found out about a lawsuit against Otis naming 34 children whose lives were changed or ended as a result of the same problem.

Why is it that more people do not know about the problem?

The obvious answer is that manufacturers and retailers are not going to advertise the risk. After receiving reports of injury and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission took notice, some manufacturers did add features like infrared sensors.

The less obvious answer is that there was little regulation from the government where personal-use elevators were concerned. While attention over the past few years may have prompted some change, accidents still happen.

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