Post written by Meghan’s Mother Kim:
Human nature is an interesting thing, especially when it comes to how we choose to react when we learn of a potential danger to our child or family.
Many of us are aware of certain dangers that lurk in and around our homes and in our communities, yet very few of us ever think our children will be the victim of those dangers.
We tell ourselves it could never happen to us. That our children are never out of our sight (not true, everyone sleeps and don’t even get me started about distracted parenting thanks to cell phones and tablets), that we never leave them alone, that they “know better”, that they are old enough and it’s not a worry, the risk is low, or some other excuse we allow ourselves to believe will keep our kids safe from harm.
We simply refuse to believe “it”, whatever “it” is, could happen to our child or in our family. Bad things happen to other people, not to us, right?
I’m writing this to tell you that is a very, VERY, dangerous way to think. Because thinking or hoping “it” won’t happen to you does nothing to protect your children. Not. A. Thing. And if you don’t take steps to prevent it, it most certainly can happen to you. And in less time than it took you to read this paragraph.
You can be the best, most attentive, most well-educated parent in the world, and if you don’t know about and take the hazards that are present in and around your home seriously, you could pay for it with your child’s health or even their life.
I’m not saying this to scare you, although I kind of hope it does. I’m saying this because it happened to me. You can read about it in my blog post Be With Me. Just for Today.
My beautiful little girl Meghan, died when she was 3, when her dresser fell on her very early in the morning while the rest of the family was asleep. We did not hear it fall. She was unable to cry. She suffocated. Alone. Under the weight of her dresser. We were completely unaware it had happened. We did not believe it could happen. Yet it did. To well-educated, loving, affluent parents, who had their home childproofed to an extreme. Except we did not know to secure dressers and TV’s and similar style furniture, and it cost us our child’s life. This is a photo of Meggie and a picture of the dresser that killed her.
No parent should ever have to bury their child. Ever. Especially from something that a few dollars and a few minutes could have prevented. Seriously. That’s all it would have taken to save Meghan’s life by anchoring her dresser )and our other furniture and TV’s) to the wall. Holes in walls and furniture can be fixed. The hole in my heart will never, ever, be fixed. I have to live the rest of my life without my beautiful Meggie-moo. And it’s my fault, because I didn’t adequately protect her from something I could have. If only I knew.
So now you know, too. And you have the power to prevent it from happening to your child.
Did you know that almost all furniture and all TV’s can tip-over and injure or kill a child? Did you know that 71 children every day are injured from a falling piece of furniture or a TV. That’s 3 children every single hour! Every 45 minutes a child is in the ER because a TV fell on them.
Old style tube TV’s can weigh over 100 pounds. Flat screen TV’s can weigh as little as 30-50 pounds, but that’s still the same as 3-5 bowling balls falling on your child’s head from about 3 feet high. One bowling ball could fracture a skull and cause a debilitating and traumatic brain injury and lifelong disability. 3 or more could kill a child. Furniture can weigh hundreds of pounds and fall with greater force of a line of NFL linebackers tackling each other. On average, a child dies every 2 weeks from a furniture or TV tip-over. One injury and certainly even one death is far too many.
For many of these children, the parents were in the next room, or even the same room, and were powerless to stop it from happening, it happens that fast. Don’t believe me? Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCpE-KvDEvo Then, go to every dresser, bookshelf, and storage style unit in your home, open any and all drawers and doors and pull/push on the top drawer or high shelf with about 50 lbs of force (the amount used to test tip-over potential and to simulate the weight of a young child). I’m willing to bet you more than 90% of the furniture in your home will tip. Try it. Without a child around to see it. Even if it doesn’t tip when you do that, doesn’t mean it can’t. Physics is, well, physics.
After Meghan died, I started an educational awareness campaign called Meghan’s Hope. You can find it at www.meghanshope.org. There you will find information about tip-over prevention, a safety blog, and a resource list that has links to where to buy anchor straps, which ones to buy, what not to buy, and how to install them. For the cost of two dinners out with your family or less, you can secure everything in your home.
I also have a Facebook page where I post all sorts of child safety information, if you haven’t “liked” us yet, please do! The more people who know and share Meggie’s story, the more lives we can save from this, and other, very preventable causes of child injury and death.
So now you know that furniture and TV tip-over is a very real danger in everyone’s home. If you have children who live with you or visit your home, you need to be sure all your furniture and all your TV’s are secured properly to the wall. It’s easy to do. Meghan’s Hope will show you how!
Another great resource is the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Anchor It! website at www.anchorit.gov. You will find great information and videos on how to secure furniture and TV’s to the wall properly. Their tag line is “Get on top of it before they do.” No truer words were ever spoken with regard to tip-over.
As parents, we have an awesome responsibility to keep our kids safe from harm. We cannot protect them from everything, but this is something we can protect them from. The safer we make their environment, the more than can be free to explore their environment the way kids are supposed to, through play. We can let kids be kids, and have peace of mind knowing we’ve done everything we can to keep them as safe as possible. Tip-over prevention is just one aspect of child and home safety, but a very real danger and a very important one to address in your home.
Accidents are still the #1 cause of death and injury to children, and all accidents are preventable. No child has to be injured or die from a fallen piece of furniture, TV, or an appliance. But in order for that to be a reality, all parents and grandparents, schools, hotels, and retailers, manufacturers, and anyone who has furniture or TV in their possession or building, needs to know about and understand the danger and then take steps to prevent it. Not just one or two pieces of furniture or TV, but all of them.
When Meggie wanted your undivided attention, she’d climb into your lap, hold your face in her tiny hands, and look you in the eye, demanding “You listen to Meggie!”
Please, for the sake of a child you love, don’t think “it” can’t or won’t happen to you. Instead, please listen to Meggie, and secure your furniture and TV’s.
For more information you can contact Kimberly at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Meghan’s Hope Facebook page.