STERLING, Mass. — Legislation was re-filed Thursday in the United States Senate that if it becomes law could help save children’s lives.
It’s called the Sturdy Act. The law would prevent furniture tip-overs from happening. A Sterling mother is on a mission to make sure not one more family has to endure the pain of losing a child to falling furniture as she has.
“On December 18, 2004, I woke to every parent’s nightmare,” Kimberly Amato said.
That nightmare was when she and her husband discovered their 3-year-old daughter, Meghan, had woken up early, got out of bed, and tried to climb her dresser.
“I heard this god-awful scream when he opened Meghan’s door and all he could say is she’s under the dresser, she’s under the dresser,” Amato said.
Meghan did not survive. She told Boston 25 news anchor Chris Flanagan her daughter’s death is one that hundreds of families have experienced. “I honestly believed, Chris, when this happened I thought it was a freak accident. I had no idea how frequently furniture has fallen on children and I really thought she was the last one to ever suffer this kind of incident,” she said.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 451 children were killed when a piece of furniture or a television fell onto them between 2000 and 2019. Each month, one to two children die from a tip-over incident. Thousands more are injured each year.
Amato has teamed-up with other parents who lost children to tip-overs in an organization called Parents Against Tip-Overs. They’re lobbying for a strong and mandatory furniture safety standard. Amato believes if the law was in place 16 years ago, her beautiful little girl would be alive today. She says Meghan’s death was preventable. “She loved the animals, she loved running, she loved being outside and dancing. She was definitely the twinkle in everyone’s eye,” Amato commented.
The Sturdy Act would require manufacturers to test their furniture to withstand the weight of a 6-year-old child and in real-world situations, like with drawers open and things in drawers to simulate a child climbing on it.