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Tip-Overs: Preventable Tragedies

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The cell reception at her West Chester home had been spotty. So after watching her three oldest children get onto the school bus at the end of her driveway, Jackie Collas dialed Verizon and asked about boosting the signal. It had been a harsh winter, and she worried about being able to reach 911 in an emergency.

After hanging up on that morning last February, she went to check on Curren, her 2-year-old.

She found him trapped and motionless beneath his overturned, five-drawer dresser. For how long, Collas couldn’t know. The mother began CPR, and was still trying to revive him when the paramedics arrived.

It was not until after the funeral that she learned Curren had no vital signs when they took over, that there had been no way to save him. That has left her with one heartbreaking regret.

Sitting beside his bed, the unwashed sheets still full with his smell, she wishes she had stopped lifesaving efforts that day, taken him in her arms, and rocked him one last time.

“I would have held him a little longer,” she says. “While he was warm.”

What happened with that toppled dresser is called a tip-over, a name that marks the very second when a commonplace, unthreatening item becomes lethal.

A television or dresser or bookcase, disturbed in some way, leans off balance, past its center of gravity and ... tips.

About four times an hour, on average — 38,000 times a year — the scenario sends someone in the United States to an emergency room. More than half are children, many under 5 years old and brimming with a curiosity to clasp a TV or climb drawers like stairs.

In 2011, the last year for which reliable data are available, tip-overs killed 49 children nationwide — 21 more than the year before, hospital data gathered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission show.

Continue reading "Tip-Overs: Preventable Tragedies" at Philly.com. This article was written by Tricia L. Nadolny (Inquirer Staff Writer). 

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