Family Voices — Meghan’s Story
Meghan was killed when her dresser tipped over on her. She was three years old.
Submitted by her mom, Kimberly, a founding member of Parents Against Tip-overs.
At 6:04 am on October 23, 2001, Meghan arrived, feet first and feisty, kicking her twin brother out of the womb. Meghan was energetic and loud, yet compassionate and loving, and yes, demanding. She’d climb into your lap, take your face between her tiny little hands, and say “You listen (or talk) to MEGGIE!” when she wanted your attention.
On the evening of December 17, 2004, my husband, older son, and I went across the street to a neighbor’s house for a holiday open house. Earlier that day, Meghan had come up to both my husband and I, separately, and told us she loved us. Something that was out of the blue, and in hindsight, gave me chills. On December 18th, 2004, I woke to my husband screaming my name. I ran into Meghan’s room to find he and our two young boys standing around Meghan, who was lying in the middle of the floor, pale and looking black and blue. My husband said she was under her dresser. I yelled for him to call 911 and I began CPR. She was flown to a trauma hospital. I knew in my heart she was gone but hoped beyond hope I was wrong.
I remember rocking my dead baby girl, stroking her silky hair, holding her tiny cold hands, staring at her beautiful face. The nurses helped us to make painted hand and foot prints for her brothers and a plaster mold of her hand and foot in a heart shaped plaster as a keepsake. They gently prepared us to say good-bye.
Meghan’s dresser was made by a well-known and top of the line juvenile furniture manufacturer. I’ve since learned the exact same dresser fell on another child, who thankfully was not seriously injured because it fell against a bed. I thought it was safe. Wasn’t all juvenile furniture supposed to be safe? I promised Meghan that night I would work tirelessly to ensure this never happened to anyone else. Meghan’s Hope was born that night.
What has happened since Meghan’s death?
It’s been 14 years. The statistics are higher now than they were then, but at least the data is being captured. Awareness is greater, but not good enough, because a tip-over injury still happens every 17 minutes. The voluntary furniture safety standard that existed then is almost the same as it is now. The manufacturing safety standard needs to be strong enough to protect children adequately.
Tip-overs can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. The only way to protect your child is to make sure all furniture is properly secured to the wall. Anchor it all, today! I’ve learned that it really will take a village, a very large village, to put an end to these preventable tip-overs. We need every person’s help we can get to lend your voice to our song. Please, listen to Meggie (feel those tiny hands on your face and those wise blue eyes looking into yours and demanding your attention), and help us #StopTipovers!
Facebook: Meghan’s Hope
Note from KID: The U.S. House passed the STURDY Act in 2021. In May 2022, the Senate Commerce Committee passed the bill, and it now needs to go to the full Senate for a vote. Please take a moment to call your U.S. Senators and ask them to co-sponsor and vote in favor of the STURDY Act, which would help prevent tip-overs. Learn more about the STURDY Act here. Learn more about furniture tip-overs at Parents Against Tip-overs (PAT), and view PAT’s tip-over brochure.
How You Can Take Action
To take action and help prevent further incidents, injuries, and deaths,
there are a number of things you can do:
- Before purchasing furniture, check the recall database cpsc.gov to make sure the product hasn’t been recalled by the manufacturer.
- Anchor furniture and TVs to the wall so that they’re less likely to tip over.
- Remove tempting objects, such as remote controls and toys, from high places that children might try to climb and reach.
More Information on Furniture
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that in the US, a child is sent to the emergency room every 60 minutes as a result of falling furniture. These furniture tip-overs can cause a variety of injuries–head injuries, contusions, lacerations, and fractures—even death. Children between the ages of 2 and 5 are at the highest risk – their motor abilities allow them to navigate the home by themselves and their intellectual development makes them curious about objects that might be out of reach.