Anchor It and Protect a Child You Love
Some dangers hide in your home that most people don’t even think about. They come in the many various forms of furniture- bookcases, dressers, hutches, cabinets, toy boxes, TV’s, and entertainment centers, and can cause serious injury or even death when they are tipped over. Three people in the United States are injured every hour when a piece of furniture, an appliance or a television falls on them. In the United States, a child dies every two weeks as a result of fallen furniture or a TV. Many parents simply don’t know how dangerous furniture tip-overs can be, and how easily they can be prevented.
Kimberly Amato is a mother of three with a very personal story that she shares publicly - the loss of her daughter Meghan, just seven days before Christmas in 2004. Meghan was tragically killed by a small wooden dresser that fell on top of her, entrapping her and suffocating her while everyone else in the house was asleep. No one heard a sound, and there was no chance to save her. Perhaps most tragic is the knowledge that Meghan’s death could have been completely prevented simply be securing her dresser to the wall. Five dollars and fifteen minutes would have saved her life. To read more about Meghan’s story, please visit www.meghanshope.org.
Please don’t let it happen to a child you know. The Montgomery County Health Department and Child Fatality Prevention Task Force urges you to secure all furniture to the wall, not just unsteady or tall heavy pieces. Use devices made specifically for securing furniture to the walls- these devices can be purchased in stores or at various outlets online. Place heavy items or those of potential interest to children on the lowest shelf or drawer so a child does not reach or climb for them. Never put anything on top of a TV. Place TV sets on low stable units and as far back as possible- (never on a dresser) and then secure both the TV and the unit to the wall. Flat screen TV’s are best mounted on a wall, instead of placing them on a TV stand.
As Health Educators with the Montgomery County Health Department, Rhonda Peters and Kimberly Burger work diligently to raise community awareness to help prevent childhood death and injury. Peters wants to remind parents to be safe while travelling this summer as well, “When you check into a hotel room, or visit family, check the furniture in that space as well. You may not be able to anchor it while on vacation, but you can be vigilant and cognizant otf the danger. Some hotels are a lot safer than others. Take the time to check.” Burger adds, “Finding local stores that stock mounting kits can be challenging, but there are many, many online resources. It is more than worth the effort it takes to anchor your furniture. I would be more than happy to point you in the right direction and serve as a resource to help you. Holes in your walls can be fixed, but holes in your heart can’t.” For more local information or resources on child safety, contact Kimberly Burger by calling 910-572-1393 x249 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.