I heard the loud crash and the screaming followed within seconds.
As any parent would, I dropped what I was doing and ran down the hall in the direction of the noise. My brain wasn’t registering which child it was, I just kept moving towards the sound of the cries. And then, in the very last room at the end of the hall I saw it. Our oldest daughter’s tall wooden dresser had come crashing down and was laying on the ground.
The kids. Count em. One. Two. Three. My heart rate slowed down a little. It was clear that the younger two were okay as I swept our seven-year-old into my arms. She was crying a very scared and panicked cry as we looked at all of the scrapes along one side of her body. Luckily it wasn’t more than that and she had jumped out of the way in time.
To give you an idea of size, the dresser is about as tall as she is (and way bigger than our other two kids). Had it have fallen on top of any of them, the consequences could easily have been quite severe. As we all sat on her bed and had a cuddle, I couldn’t help but notice the sharp pieces of glass and pottery broken on the floor and the heavy metal piggy bank filled with change that was over by the doorway. As I calmed everyone down, five words played in my brain – we just dodged a bullet.
As we got into clean-up mode, the guilt set in. I knew it. We knew it. The dresser had been there for three years and the drawers always slid open. We’ve put books underneath the front and tried to push her clothes back in the drawers to make the balance better. Last weekend my husband had put the feet on it to see if that would help (we’d always just had the flat bottom on the floor). The night after the feet were put on, I actually said out loud that I thought the feet made it more tippy and that we should probably take them off again. But we didn’t act on it right away.
The very next night, as our daughter got ready for bed, she walked to her dresser to put some clothes away and noticed something on the ground. She bent down to pick it up while still holding onto her drawer and the small amount of force was enough to bring the whole thing crashing down towards her.
I got in touch with Child Safety Link and spent some time surfing their amazing website. Child Safety Link is a Maritime wide child and youth injury prevention program, located at the IWK Health Centre. Their mission is to reduce the incidence and severity of injury to children and youth and their website is full of amazing tips and information for keeping your kids safe at home, in the car and anywhere else. They told me that injuries from toppling furniture most often happen to children between the ages of one and four but obviously, as in our case, can happen to older kids as well. Outcomes can range from fractures to head and neck injuries and can even be fatal.
Their recommendation – anchor your bookcases, sets of drawers and televisions. It seems basic but it’s an important reminder for all of us. We hadn’t done it. Don’t put it off.
My recommendation to go along with theirs – trust your instincts. Fix it now. We were one of the lucky ones.
Deanna is a Mom of three, wife, marketer and blogger – lover of travel, morning coffee, family time, belly laughs, good friends and uninterrupted showers! Follow her on twitter @DeannaCMiller