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October 06, 1995| Times Wire Services

Bunk Bed Danger: More than 41,000 wooden bunk beds made or imported by 10 companies have top-bunk openings wide enough to trap young children trying to squeeze through, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said. The agency said slats in the top bunks of the beds, some distributed as far back as 1980, are wide enough for a child's body to pass through but small enough for the head to get stuck. Those who have such beds should stop using them immediately and call the manufacturer or retailer for instructions on eliminating the hazard, the agency said.

The agency also said Catalina Furniture Co. of Fullerton has refused to participate in the voluntary recall, maintaining that its Model 3892 bunk beds are completely safe. The agency says that bed poses a similar hazard. Catalina said in a statement that it is unnecessary for consumers to return the beds, suggesting that they instead obtain a free retrofitting kit the company has been offering for several months.

The safety commission said 25 children have died since 1990 after becoming caught in spaces in top bunks. None of the deaths involved products from any of the 10 companies or Catalina. The companies participating in the recall are Artwood Fine Furniture Manufacturing of South El Monte; Brewster Corp. of Hamilton, Ala.; D&J Mattress of Grants Pass, Ore.; Furniture Imports of Philadelphia; Irons Country Pine of Florence, Ala.; Lee Anderson Furniture, Buena Park; Nordwins Corp. of Los Angeles; Pine Cone Rustics Manufacturing of Madison, Minn.; Room Improvement of Woodland, Calif., and the Bunk Bed Shop of Cedar Creek, Tex.

Manufacturers and importers caution that children under age 6 should not be put in the upper bunks.

Consumers may call the Consumer Product Safety Commission at (800) 638-2772.

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