Dressers, Drills, and the Message You Can’t Ignore

Written by Rachel Morrow on . Posted in 3Moms Blog

child safety

You know those dreams you have that stick with you? No matter what you do you can’t get them out of your mind. When I read about Kyrie, it was like one of those dreams was coming true—but for someone I didn’t even know.

It all started when my daughter was about 20 months old—the magic age where she still slept in a crib, yet I went to bed every night wondering if she was going to figure out how to climb out. I had a dream so vivid my heartbeat increases just thinking about it. The dream started with my daughter figuring out how to get out of her crib. And what did she do first? She went to explore her dresser, of course.

But she started with the first drawer.

And then she opened the second. This was an Ikea dresser, so it wasn’t the greatest piece of furniture known to man. It did the job, but it was not made to stay upright with the top two drawers, full of clothes, open.

As that second drawer extended, the dresser came tumbling down. Right on my daughter. I saw it all, including the never-want-to-see-in-real-life vision of my daughter squished underneath it. I popped up in bed just like you see in the movies. My heartbeat was insane, and I grabbed the video monitor to make sure my daughter was sleeping soundly in her crib. She was. Thank goodness. But I didn’t stop there.

There was no way I was going to sleep soundly until my daughter’s dresser was mounted to the wall. Since it was about 2:00 AM, I couldn’t exactly do it then, so I did the next best thing. I grabbed my sticky notes and pen and went to work.

When my husband woke up the next day, a sticky note greeted him on our bathroom mirror. It read “Mount Maddie’s dresser today!” As he went to leave our room, there was another sticky note on the door, portraying the same message. And another on Maddie’s door, and on the fridge, and on the garage door. By the time we went to bed that night, the dresser looked like this:

 mounted dresser

Back to Kyrie.

When I heard her story, this very vivid dream of mine played out in my head. I didn’t know any details at this point, just that something fell on a little two-year-old girl, and she was in the ICU. I saw a picture of her, and she looked surprisingly like my daughter did at that age, and I couldn’t shake the image of that dream, how I felt when I thought it was reality, and how these parents must be feeling—which surely is a million times worse than what I can even imagine.

I basically stalked the Kisses for Kyrie Facebook page for updates, bawling with each announcement of good news. And when Kyrie’s mom, Shauna, said she wanted to get the word out about the importance of mounting furniture (for them it was a TV that fell), I knew just how crucial this message was.

We already covered Kyrie’s story last week, but I felt compelled to expand on it even further. As Shauna said, if even one child can be saved, it gives her a sense of peace.

Thank goodness Kyrie shows more improvement every day. But not every child is so lucky. And not every parent has a nightmare warning them about the dangers of unmounted furniture.

Did you realize that every two weeks a child dies from a tip-over accident?

Every 15 minutes, a child is injured from one.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, this includes televisions, furniture (bookcases, dressers), and appliances. In most of the stories I’ve read, it happened in the child’s room, and it was silent. Either the carpeting or the child’s body muted the sounds, so the parents didn’t even know anything happened until they went to their child’s room in the morning. Even if the parents were in the room, it happened too quickly for them to stop it.

And in the majority of the homes these fatal accidents occured in, the parents didn’t even realize they were putting their children in danger.

Image Credit: CPSC

Image Credit: CPSC

But now, you do, and it’s time to take action:

  • Properly secure any dressers, bookcases, and television stands/televisions to the wall. It just takes a few dollars and a few minutes. From the hardware store to Amazon, the tools you need are readily available; you just have to buy them and install them according to the instructions. Many dressers even come with the proper hardware for mounting (make sure you screw into the stud!).
  • Don’t worry about holes in the wall. Seriously. Just mount the furniture. Any repercussions from a landlord for a hole in the wall are minute compared to the alternative.
  • No item of furniture is too small, as Meghan’s Hope points out. Her story is heartbreaking, and when you see the size of the dresser that killed this sweet little girl, you will be shocked.
  • Keep anything tempting off of the top of dressers. (This is something I need to change myself right now! I didn’t even think about this until reading the CPSC’s suggestions.) As cute as the stuffed animals and pictures are, they aren’t worth it.
  • Consider just tossing that old front-heavy television.
  • Have a chat with grandparents or owners of other homes your children visit to make sure the furniture is mounted there, too. These accidents don’t just happen at home.

And spread the word.

There are parents out there who don’t know this is a danger (you might be one of them!). They place their toddlers in their rooms without a second thought. Even if they are in a crib, there is no saying when they will decide to crawl out.

Parents would never put their precious children in danger on purpose, but if they don’t know, they won’t do anything about it.


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