New law could protect kids from falling dressers

Image 1 of 4

Meghan DeLong was excited to celebrate Mother's Day 2017 with her two boys in Sarasota.

Instead, the day became a nightmare after her two-year-old son, Conner became caught under the dresser in his room. Less than 40 hours later, DeLong said goodbye to her little boy.

"I definitely never pictured that to be what Mother's Day was for me and will be for me for the rest of my life," said DeLong. "They wrapped him in his favorite blanket, took him in my arms, and within minutes he drew his last breath."

Heartbroken, DeLong set out on a mission to keep kids safe around dressers and chests of drawers. She quickly discovered she wasn't alone.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child dies every two weeks due to furniture or appliances falling on top of them. Her little boy is now part of that statistic.

"His entire body was inside the second drawer and his head was outside of it... The weight of the dresser cut off his oxygen," DeLong explained. "If that furniture is falling, then that means that the standard is not good enough."

Current standards require furniture to stay upright when all the drawers are opened and when a 50 pound weight is placed in one of the drawers. Conner's dresser supposedly met all these standards.  

"To me, that says the voluntary standard that we have is not strong enough," she said.​​​​​​​

That's what led to the Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act of 2019, or the STURDY Act, a bill that would require better testing and stricter standards. That bill passed Tuesday in the U.S. House and could possibly become law. 

"It's bittersweet because real change is happening, but at what cost?" questioned DeLong.

In the meantime, DeLong is encouraging parents to take the extra step and anchor down their furniture.

"There might be a hole in your wall, but it's much better than the hole that you have in your life," said DeLong.

The STURDY Act still has to go before the U.S. Senate, however, DeLong is hopeful.

The DeLongs have also started the Conner's Legacy Foundation to make sure that other families are aware of the potential dangers of falling furniture.