Kentucky State Rep. Terry Mills said Friday that his family takes "some satisfaction" that 2.2 million beanbag chairs are being recalled after his granddaughter in Lexington and a child in Texas opened them, crawled inside and suffocated.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Friday that the zippers on the chairs, made by Ace Bayou Corp., can open, The Associated Press reported.
Mills' granddaughter Mia Kylee Mills Simmerman, 3, of Lexington, and a 13-year-old boy from McKinney, Texas, were found dead inside the chairs after they suffocated and inhaled the chair's foam beads.
"For us, there's some satisfaction that there's less likelihood that this will happen to other children, and that gives us some relief," Mills told the Herald-Leader.
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"On the other hand, the wound has been opened again. Believe it or not, after a little bit less than two years, we're still grieving to the point where we're not sure we are able to talk much about it."
Kylee's death on Sept. 12, 2012, was ruled an accident, and the cause of death was asphyxia, or suffocation. She apparently had crawled inside a beanbag, possibly while playing hide-and-seek.
Just after 3 p.m. that day, Kylee went missing at her home on Graviss Court, off Clays Mill Road near Man o' War Boulevard. A half-hour search by police, firefighters, family members and neighbors ensued before a firefighter-emergency medical technician found Kylee inside the beanbag.
"I've been struggling for two years as to what I might be able to do to prevent this from happening to others, and I haven't been able to come up with a good answer yet," Mills, D-Lebanon, said. "So this is a step in the right direction."
At the time, Kylee was Mills' youngest grandchild. He said his daughter, Kylee's mother, has since had another child.
According to The Associated Press, the chairs that have been recalled were sold at Bon-Ton, Meijer, Pamida, School Specialty, Wayfair and Wal-Mart stores, and online at Amazon.com, Meijer.com and Walmart.com.
They cost between $30 and $100 and were sold before July 2013. They come in many colors, shapes, fabrics and sizes.
Owners of the beanbag chairs should check whether the zippers open and take them away from children if they do, the safety commission said.
Ace Bayou, based in New Orleans, is offering customers a free repair kit that will stop the zippers from opening. Customers can order one at acebayou.com/recall.