Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Cautionary Tale

I heard a loud crash from the girls' room with Ella screaming "Mommy!" simultaneously. I heard Ella crying, hysterically and Samantha's feet running from her room as fast as possible, her high pitched voice screaming, "Mommy! Mommy! Come quick!"

As soon as I heard the crash and scream, I knew something was terribly wrong. I was in the kitchen, finishing dinner. I took one large step onto the carpeted floor of the living room and laid Penny quickly on the carpet, barely breaking my stride. I met Sammy at the hallway and pushed passed her.

In the bedroom, the six drawer high dresser was tipped over, resting against the toddler bed, drawers open, clothes on the floor, the piggy banks, binders, and barrettes strewn across the bed. On the floor, between the dresser and bed was Ella, screaming and crying for me.

I reached the dresser and hoisted it up. It had shifted so the back feet were setting on the wall.
I pulled it so it rest flat, letting the rest of the drawers fall to the floor. Ella had moved as soon as she was free.

I turned to her, my heart pounding. She stood in the middle of the room, screaming, terrified, blood coming from her mouth. The light in the room was dim. I scooped her up and ran to the living room where Penny still lay on the ground, screaming herself.

I shouted for Sammy to get me a wet washcloth while I tried to calm Ella down enough to see what was bleeding. Looking in Ella's mouth, she had bit her tongue. There was no other bleeding I could see. No cracked teeth. One cheek seemed maybe a little swollen. She calmed down and chewed on the washcloth. The bleeding had stopped. She told me her mouth hurt. No where else hurt, she said.

My heart still pounding, I went to pick up and console Penny and returned to the couch, sitting there for a few minutes with my terrified, but okay, little Ella Bean. Sammy began rapidly recounting the story to me.

Ella had been trying to reach her T-shirts in the third drawer. It's unclear if she just grabbed the drawer, pulling the dresser on top of her or if she was climbing the dresser. Regardless, I realize Ella would have been crushed, possibly killed, if the bed hadn't been there to keep the dresser from falling all the way. If Ella was taller, her head would have been smashed between the dresser and the bed.

I consider myself a relatively cautious mom when it comes to childproofing the house. We have outlet plugs in all the outlets, including those that would require climbing to reach, we have toilet locks on the toilets to prevent drowning, we now have a refrigerator lock, the locks on our doors are too difficult for a child to open on their own and run into the street.

I never really thought I needed to secure the dressers to the wall. I had read it was something to do when childproofing, but my kids don't climb the dressers. Tomorrow, we will be securing the dressers to the wall, and the flat screen television, too.

I'm lucky my child wasn't seriously injured or killed today. Learn from my mistake. If you have small children in your house, secure your large furniture to the wall.


  1. I hope Ella is okay now. Also I hope you don't rack yourself with guilt over this. My good wishes are with you and your family.

  2. Thanks. Ella is fine, although she points at the dresser every time we go in the room and says with big wide eyes, "Fell on me."


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