It's a hidden danger that could be lurking in your child's room. And for me, the potentially deadly problem hit too close to home. My two year old son Brody’s curiosity gave us a real scare a few weeks ago.
"I cry every time I think what could've happened to him," says my wife Christine recalling what happened a few ago.
It all started after my wife put Brody down for a nap and left to run errands while her mother stayed downstairs. A short time later our son started crying, not unusual at nap time. But after a while his grandmother went to check on him because he was still crying and she couldn't see him on the baby monitor.
“My mom goes up there to check on him and finds him with the handle to the hamper around his neck,” says Christine. "It was scary, that it could have ended tragically if she had not found him in time."
Brody had knocked over the empty hamper, then slipped the handle around his neck. When he couldn't get out, he started to roll over, tightening the handle around his neck like a noose.
“It was around his neck pretty tight. She had difficulty getting it off of him. And when she was finally able to get it off of him, he had red marks on his neck from the handle and how tight it was and how hard he was trying to get it off of him,” says Christine.
The collapsible hamper we bought came with a crib set. They're no longer being sold, but I found one on craigslist. I was able to buy one just like it on amazon.
The idea someone could design it so dangerously makes for a pretty mad mom. "Angry, because it was purchased from a baby store. And you think, well. It's a hamper. Who would ever think a hamper could pose any kind of danger to your child," says Christine.
After the close call, we cut off the handles. You should do the same if you have a hamper like this and your child is still small enough to fit their head inside the loops.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission's website shows no complaints of any similar problems with these hampers. But it will soon after we file one - to make sure this doesn't happen to any other child.