Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Life in Perspective

A few years ago, I was on a parenting forum with other parents of other children around my kids ages. There was nothing particularly special or unique about us. We just formed a web community, filled with unique individuals with similar parenting styles and a connection that you just can't explain.

We cared about one another, kept some track of our kids progress, laughed at the silly stuff and rejoiced at each others milestones. We're still a relatively close community, though as the kids age there's less and less to unite us online.

But there is one moment that changed us all, forever. One member, whose daughter was just a few months older than mine, awoke to tragedy. Her toddler had crawled out of bed in the middle of the night and attempted to climb the dresser. It fell, crushing her.

There was no second chance, and worse...nothing that anyone had done "wrong". She was asleep in her room, with the door closed to prevent accidents if she happened to wake and wander. It was a setting like thousands of other households in the United States. She wasn't neglected, she wasn't abused, and no one had "accidentally" left something dangerous within reach. It just never occurred to anyone that a dresser might tip over.

In Earthquake county, we bolt our bookcases to the walls and protect our knick knacks. Nut never had I imagined a full sized dresser might tip. I've tried to move one, it's not easy.

But what happened to this child isn't unique. And this weekend, tragedy struck again, when a young boy climbing a dresser tipped it over. He was fine. But, it fell on top of his 6 month old brother, who didn't survive.

According to the CPSC, at least 8,000 children are injured in furniture tips and falls every year. In the grand scheme of things, it is unlikely for a child to be fatally injured by a falling dresser. But when it's your child, statistics don't matter.

There is something we can do to prevent further tragedy. In households with young children, all furniture should be securely fastened to a wall. It doesn't matter how closely you watch, or how careful you are. Accidents happen. We can be "overly cautious" with a few extra nails. And we can pass the word on to other parents, so they can anticipate the unfathomable and prevent another nightmare.


purple_kangaroo said...

I wonder if the short long kind of dressers are a tipping risk, or just the tall ones?

Violets said...

It's my understanding that either can be at risk, but the shorter ones have to "fall" farther before they will actually topple. Dh put in anchors, and it really isn't that hard. Just annoying if you like to move furniture.