Mother On Mission To Prevent Tip-Over Deaths Says Viral Video Is Teaching Moment
BOSTON (CBS) - Home surveillance of a dresser tipping over onto twin Utah toddlers delivers Sterling mom Kim Amato to a heartbreaking place.
"I buried my little girl three days before Christmas," Amato said. "It's been 12 years but it doesn't really get any easier."
She's talking about three-year-old Meghan, killed when her dresser toppled onto her in the middle of the night, apparently as she tried to climb on it.
"I have to live with that the rest of my life, I don't want any other parent to know what that feels like," Amato said.
Neither Utah youngster was hurt. But Amato sees the video as a valuable teaching moment.
"So many people think they can be in the same room and stop it, and you can't," she said. "It happens so fast."
With that in mind, Amato launched "Meghan's Hope" after her daughter's death, working with the feds to educate consumers about securing furniture and TV's with straps or hardware.
"Five dollars and 15 minutes would have saved Meghan's life if we had known to anchor her dresser to the wall," Amato said.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says tip-overs kill two children a month in this country and cause 33,000 ER visits each year -- stats that don't seem to motivate parents.
The furniture industry has some voluntary guidelines for warning buyers about tip-overs – but manufacturers often ignore them.
And while the feds seek mandatory labels, Kim finds at least some comfort in knowing that her own tragic story has prompted other parents to act.
"The hole in my heart and the guilt I carry for knowing that my daughter died from something that I could have prevented is never gonna go away," she said.
Furniture-maker Ikea has come under fire for dressers that tip-over easily. Its manuals warn of the danger and some models now come with wall anchors. But just last month, the company settled three wrongful death claims out of court -- for about $50 million.
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