Airbnb, Vrbo hosts urged by regulators to disable residential elevators

Warning follows the death of another young child, CPSC says

Federal safety regulators are calling on popular vacation rental platforms to disable the use of home elevators following the reported death of another young child. 

Some platforms are already obliging. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a letter to Airbnb, Vrbo and other vacation rental platforms Tuesday asking them to require hosts to "lock outer access doors or otherwise disable the elevators in their properties."  

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The letter marks the first time the CPSC publicly called on vacation rental businesses "to take immediate action." However, the notice came just after a 7-year-old reportedly died in a vacation home elevator in North Carolina. 

In response, Vrbo agreed to "share important elevator safety information with property owners who have residential elevators" the company said in a statement to FOX Business. This warning will include a "recommendation to disable elevators until they can be properly inspected and common safety issues addressed." 

Vrbo "also posted elevator safety information to our Trust & Safety page, accessible by all guests," the company added. 

Representatives for Airbnb did not respond to FOX Business' request for comment. However, Airbnb told CBS News that it was still reviewing the contents of the letter. 

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The CPSC stressed that such elevators "pose a hidden and deadly hazard" to small children who can be crushed to death in a gap between the doors. 

If the gap between an exterior door and the farthest point of the inner door is too deep, the agency said a child can become entrapped, "resulting in serious injuries or death when the elevator car moves." 

CPSC acting Chairman Robert Adler said the agency is already working with elevator manufacturers but is still urging vacation rental platforms to join in its efforts to better protect children. 

"CPSC has jurisdiction over residential elevators, and the agency has engaged with the manufacturers and sellers of these units regarding their legal responsibilities," Adler wrote in the letter. "I reach out to you, not as a regulator, but in the hopes that you will join us in ensuring that children are safe in rentals on your platform."

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The CPSC said that children ages 2-12 years old have been crushed to death in this gap, "suffering multiple skull fractures, fractured vertebrae and traumatic asphyxia." Meanwhile, others have revived lifelong injuries, according to the agency. 

Aside from the letter, the agency also issued a list of warnings, recalls and a lawsuit regarding residential elevators to better inform consumers.