HARRIMAN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – There’s a new initiative to stop a hidden hazard.
Consumer Reports is calling for a mandatory safety standard when it comes to furniture that could fall over onto small children.
One local family that experienced tragedy sat down exclusively with CBS2’s Jessica Layton to discuss their own mission to prevent these accidents.
The Fried family, of Harriman, can’t help but smile when they look at photos of their bright-eyed, happy little girl, Harper.
“She was bubbly, she was loud, she was a little spitfire,” mother, Erica Fried, told Layton.
“It’s just a shame that the accident occurred and she didn’t get to do all the things that we hoped she’d be able to do,” father, Aaron Fried, added.
The accident that changed all their lives happened in November 2016, a month after Harper’s third birthday. A children’s dresser toppled onto the toddler, killing her as she played in her bedroom.
“If you look around our house, there are gates, there are locks on every cabinet. We didn’t just disregard child safety,” Erica said.
Government data shows from 2014 to 2016, more than 15,000 children were hurt in tip-over accidents. From 2000 to 2016, more than 150 children died in tip-overs.
The Frieds did not want to name the company that made their daughter’s dresser, but insisted these incidents can happen with the best-made products.
In memory of Harper, the family is on a mission to educate other parents about the dangers of furniture tipping over and how easily it can be prevented. They started an organization called Harper Smiles, encouraging people with little ones to anchor furniture to the wall.
Aaron suggested furniture companies “spend the three bucks and put anchors in with their kits and put a warning label.” Some companies already do so.
In the meantime, the Frieds will continue to bravely share their story.
“Hopefully people can learn from our tragedy,” Aaron said.
Knowing if they can save just one child, they may save another family’s whole world.