“Safety First” has always been Chris and my motto!
At the beginning of 2015, not long after Jock turned 1, my sister-in-law sent me a Facebook story from a mom who puts out her son’s devastating story every year on the anniversary of her son’s death. He had a dresser fall on him. The story was detailed, and you could visualize the scenario.
I Took Action
After reading, I immediately clicked over to Amazon, and I purchased enough straps to anchor all furniture in our house that I would worry about flipping on Jock. He was aware of safety rules and never climbed on furniture or got into drawers, but the story terrified me.
Chris put the straps on within a week after arrival except for the chest of drawers in Jock’s room. I wasn’t sure yet how I was going to arrange the furniture, so I told him to wait on that because I didn’t want to make a bunch of unnecessary holes in the wall.
Two months later, I found out I was pregnant with Baby #2, life happened, and needless to say, the drawers never got strapped much less moved.
The New Year
Fast-forward to January 2, 2017, Chris was off for New Year’s Eve. It was late in the evening. Jock didn’t have a nap that day, so he was running on very little frontal cortex. Since Chris was off and I was trying to tick-off honey-dos, we decided to switch Luke’s car seat to the next size up. Chris took the seats out and started cleaning the “stuff” you find under the car seats.
Jock was in his rubber boots playing in a big water puddle in the front yard. I started to help Chris clean the car. The door opened to the house, and I looked up only to see Jock running in. I hollered, “Don’t go in there all wet and muddy!”, and I took off running after him.
He was already in the laundry room taking off his wet clothes. I helped him, and he took off streaking towards the other side of the house saying he needed to go potty. No sleep affects Jock to a great degree. I caught up with him in his bathroom, and he was going potty. Half-in the pot, half-around the edge of the pot. He finished and took off running out of the bathroom.
I started wiping the seat, flushing and putting the lid down when I heard a CRASH! SHATTER! and instantly a bloodcurdling screaming and crying coming from Jock’s room. I sprinted to his room with no heartbeat. It was a horrific scream that I had never heard from him.
I arrived to find the chest of drawers laying on top of Jock, only a little of the top of his hair sticking out. He was screaming and crying, “Help!” The first thing that came to my mind was the Facebook story, my SIL sent me where the kid died. I tried my best not to go into panic mode!
I was able to lift up the chest about a foot by the grace of God and adrenaline. Jock’s whole face and a lot of his hair were covered in blood, and there was a deep gash above his right eye.
When I would lift the chest, the drawers would start to slide out toward him. I didn’t want them to come down and hit him. I said, “I’m going to lift the chest up. Can you slide out?” I lifted and held and caught the drawers coming out with my leg.
It’s a heavy chest, and I got a gash in my chin from the drawers coming out and hitting me. I knew he had to be in pain. I now call it my “reminder to thank God” scar.
Jock slid out. I let the chest fall, and I grabbed him and rushed to the garage where Chris was. He was still naked, so I handed him to Chris, said the dresser fell on him and ran in to get a towel for the blood and his clothes. He is extremely modest and is rarely caught without even a shirt. I knew he wasn’t going to the emergency room without clothes.
The car seats were out of the car still, so I held Luke in the backseat. More of our “safety first” out the window. Chris held Jock in the front seat and drove to the emergency room. All I could think of was that Facebook story and what an idiot I was to tell him not to strap the chest to the wall. I begged God to let him be alright. I prompted Chris to drive faster.
We arrived at the ER and were taken right in. They checked Jock over. They asked us a bunch of questions, and then they demanded, “He must have been climbing on the dresser!” I replied, “He never climbs on any furniture.” The staff just looked at me like I was that mom whose kid never does anything wrong. It did make me second guess myself because he was running around uncontrollably before it all happened.
When the doctor examined the inside of his right ear, he thought he saw blood. A CATSCAN was ordered. They did the CATSCAN, stitched up the gash right above the eyebrow, and kept checking his ear. The doctors and nurses were telling us they were checking for pressure or swelling on the brain.
The doctor determined that it was purple from all the screaming and crying and maybe he had an ear infection. The CATSCAN came out fine. Thank God. They told us everything to watch for because he may have a concussion. He was put to sleep to do the 7 stitches, so we had to wait for him to come around and to be released.
Relieved But Nervous
I was in total panic attack mode. Up until this point in my life, it was the most scared I had ever been. I had Jock sleep with us that night, and I couldn’t sleep because all things considered, I was up all night making sure he was breathing.
The next day, he was a real champ as far as keeping the ice pack on. His eye and forehead were very swollen and bruised. He was so much stronger than me.
Chris stayed home while we made sure Jock didn’t have any concussion symptoms, and I’m pretty sure he was worried about me and my PTSD. I couldn’t even go into his room. Just to walk in that direction I got really emotional, and I’m not the real emotional type. Jock couldn’t go into the room either. He said he was scared to go.
Chris went into his room because of course now I was making a big deal about putting the straps on the chest. I knew the dresser was still laying on the floor. When he returned, he described the scene to me, and we agreed that we would put the straps on as soon as I could get myself in the room which ended up being the next evening when he returned from work.
(Notice the safety straps still taped to the back! The humidifier was on top, so that’s what I heard shatter.)
The Guilt of Not Putting Safety First
I had a lot of Mommy guilt because it had only been 2 weeks since Jock had started dressing himself. Up until that point, I got out his clothes from the chest at all times. I had guilt because he was doing this because there were now two kids, and I wasn’t doing everything for him that I did before. Chris came back and informed me that one of the dresser drawers was cracked on the chest. I didn’t care if we burned the thing.
On the second day after the accident, Chris went back to work since Jock didn’t seem like he had a concussion. I had to go into the room that morning, so I could get his clothes and dress him.
He came in with me. We both said that it felt weird to be in the room and that the dresser scared us. I asked, “Jock, what did you do? Did you run in here and climb on the dresser?” “No, Mom!” I continued, “Did you stand on this drawer to try and reach the top drawer?” He demanded, “No, Mom! I ran in here and opened this drawer real hard,” pointing to the bottom drawer, “and it just fell on top of me.” I said, “OK, stand back, and let me try it.”
He stood back, and I yanked the drawer open. The dresser began to tip over on me! I instantly believed him. With the way he was running around and the momentum he had, the force could have easily pulled the chest of drawers over.
As I inspected the cracked drawer, I knew I could fix it with wood glue. There was an indention in the wood at the top of the dresser, but I wasn’t sure what happened there. Blood was all over a drawer by the knob. I put two and two together that it was the knob that landed above his eyebrow and caused the gash to the bone.
The Miracle of It All
While down on the floor, I turned away from the dresser and came eye-to-eye with the rocking horse my parents gave Jock before he was born. It is a handmade, heavy, wooden rocking horse. I noticed a gouge in the wood on the top of the head. After further investigation, I concluded the dresser must have hit the horse on its way down. That’s where the indention at the top of the dresser came from.
This was a heart clenching, take my breath away moment. Honestly, I was feeling so angry. I was angry with myself for being more worried about putting a hole in the wall than safety. Angry with God for letting this happen to my child. Of course, I was on my knees thanking him and praising him that all Jock came out with was stitches above the eye, but deep down, I had wondered why he didn’t protect my child from this nightmare of an incident.
I was overcome with emotion, instantaneously. God was there! The rocking horse was in the right spot to break the fall, and it could have been a lot worse if he had taken on the full weight of the chest of drawers. Believe me, my thank-yous have been said for the second chance to get it right!
(At the doctor to get his stitches out.)
Call to Action – Now You Take Safety Action
I spent the next week telling all of my friends and contacts to make sure they strapped their furniture to the wall. Some listened, and about the same amount did not. Some shared, “Oh that already happened to us!”
Now I’m sharing with you. Safety! Safety! Saftey!
The purpose of sharing this story is so you can learn from my mistake. The call to action: strap your child’s furniture, bookshelves, and anything in your home that is a hazard to the wall. Most of all, pull on your furniture and see if it will tump even if it seems sturdy. If you don’t have children that you need to worry about, forward this to everyone you know that does!
It took months before I could walk into that room again without having a catch in my breath. I think it was the scream, all the blood, and the doctor bringing up swelling on the brain that did me in. I’m beyond thankful that’s all we had to go through though. Jock’s scar looks great thanks to daily applications of Vitamin E oil.
I do not wish this on anyone. Given these pointers, ORDER your straps NOW or you can find them in the baby aisle of pretty much any store, even grocery stores. Put safety first in your home!
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Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours! Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS