Warning to British parents over wooden toy chests after American twins, aged four, suffocate in box used to store their stuffed animals

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  • A UK charity has urged parents to teach children not to climb into furniture 

British parents are being warned about wooden toy chests after the tragic deaths of American twins who suffocated while sleeping in a box used to store their stuffed animals.

Four-year-old Aurora and Kellan ran out of oxygen after falling asleep in their cedar toy chest in the middle of the night at their home in Jacksonville, Florida. 

They were found dead by their older brother who believed they were still asleep as their arms were wrapped around each other.

Now, a UK accident prevention charity has urged parents in the UK to teach their children not to climb into or onto furniture, and to check how easy it is to open toy chests.   

Twins Kellan (left) and Aurora (right) suffocated after falling asleep in their cedar toy chest in the middle of the night

Twins Kellan (left) and Aurora (right) suffocated after falling asleep in their cedar toy chest in the middle of the night

The twins, pictured with their mother Sadie Myers and father Don, ran out of oxygen and suffocated and were eventually found dead, with their arms wrapped around each other

The twins, pictured with their mother Sadie Myers and father Don, ran out of oxygen and suffocated and were eventually found dead, with their arms wrapped around each other

Chief executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust, Katrina Phillips, said what happened was a ‘terrible tragedy’ and called on parents to check their children’s toy boxes. 

She told MailOnline: ‘This is a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the family. Do take a moment to check how easy it is to open your child’s toy box. 

‘Many push open easily but there could be a problem with a heavy wooden lid. And teach your children not to climb onto or into furniture.’

Ms Phillips added that what happened is incredibly rare and she is not aware of any incidents such as this in the UK.

Meanwhile, the twins’ mother Sadie Myers issued a warning to parents that the toy chests become ‘air tight’ and ‘soundproof’ when closed and urged others to ‘destroy it immediately’. 

They were taken to bed by their father Don Starr (pictured) on August 25 but decided to snuggle up in the box used to store their stuffed animals

They were taken to bed by their father Don Starr (pictured) on August 25 but decided to snuggle up in the box used to store their stuffed animals  

Aurora and Kellan, pictured with their older brothers, would often get up at odd hours and would be found sleeping in various places in the morning with toys scattered across their room

Aurora and Kellan, pictured with their older brothers, would often get up at odd hours and would be found sleeping in various places in the morning with toys scattered across their room

Ms Myers spoke about the death of her children on Facebook and wrote: ‘Me and Don are having an extremely hard time trying to make sense of this… not many will ever know the feeling of trying to not spend EVERY WAKING SECOND crying in agony.’

She was working on the night of the incident so her husband Don put their four children to bed. But the twins woke up at some point early on Saturday and decided to play together using the wooden chest. 

Chief executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust, Katrina Phillips, said she was not aware of any incidents such as this in the UK, but added that parents should check their children’s toy boxes.  

Heartbroken Ms Myers wrote: ‘Something I did not know and I’m sure many others don’t know is that most wooden toy chests once closed are AIR TIGHT and also sound proof.’

‘I hope knowing this helps in some way, and I hope if you have a toy box like this that you destroy it immediately!’

In its list of safety tips the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents recommends checking toys regularly for wear and repair, in addition to observing young children while they play. 

Ms Myers said she had tied the wooden chest shut but the kids had begged her to open it so they could play with the stuffed toys inside it. 

‘I still made sure to have something tied on the latch so that the kids couldn’t lock each other in and so it wouldn’t latch shut if closed, unfortunately that didn’t prevent it from being airtight if closed,’ she said. 

The older boys have been staying with family members as the parents deal with the loss of the twins.




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