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Airbnb and VRBO urged to close guesthouse elevators after child dies in rental home

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is asking Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms to order homeowners to close elevators in their homes to reduce the risk of injury or death to children.

Tuesday’s letter sent to Airbnb, VRBO, Tripadvisor and other companies comes a week after a 7-year-old boy from Ohio died after being trapped between an elevator cabin and a shaft. elevator inside a vacation rental home in North Carolina.

“Residential elevators can present a life-threatening but unforeseen danger to children, especially children who encounter them in vacation or rental homes,” said Robert Adler, acting chairman of the independent regulatory agency, in the letter. “I am contacting you, not as a regulator, but in the hope that you will join us in ensuring that children are safe in the rentals on your platform.”

The letter asserts that residential elevators are a “hidden and deadly danger” as small children can be trapped in a space that may exist between the exterior door and the interior door and face “serious injury or death” if the elevator car moves.

Children as young as 2 and 12 have been crushed to death in this space or suffered lifelong injuries, Adler said.

The letter suggests that short-term rental platforms notify tenants of potential dangers via email or in a warning on the reservation page; require all guests to lock exterior access doors or deactivate elevators, unless they can present proof of an inspection certifying that there is no dangerous space; and make these elevator inspections a requirement among hosts.

“By working together, we can stop these agonizing deaths and prevent further harm to children and families,” Adler said in the letter.

Tripadvisor said in a statement Tuesday that the company is reviewing how the CPSC’s recommendations could be applied to its policies relating to vacation rental owners.

Residential elevators: 7-year-old boy dies in elevator accident at home in North Carolina

Room rates: Yes, room prices are higher. Hotel rates hit a record high the week of July 4.

Contribution: Associated Press

Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Airbnb, VRBO asked to stop elevators after boy died in elevator

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