I wrote to MA Governor Charlie Baker's office a few months ago to ask if he'd be willing to issue a proclamation declaring June 2nd Massachusetts Tip-Over awareness day. This is something I've wanted to do for years, but with limited time to advocate and much of my focus of the past several years being on The STURDY Act in Congress, and the ASTM voluntary standards process, it was always on the back burner.
In February of this year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan declared February 7th, Super Bowl Sunday, Furniture, TV, and Appliance Tip-Over day, in particular to address the risk of TV tip-overs as many people purchase new TV's ahead of the big game and move older TV's to children's bedrooms or play areas, posing a risk of tip-over injury and death. Her proclamation, the first in the nation to the best of my knowledge, inspired me to pursue a Tip-Over day proclamation in MA. Which is now, so far as I am aware, the second in the nation Tip-Over Awareness Day. Kudos to the state of MA for being a champion of child safety and in particular, tip-over awareness and prevention!
Through a friend, I was able to connect with an aide at the Lt. Governor's office, and after a conversation with her about my story, the statistics, and the history of the voluntary stability standard process and current pursuit of Federal legislation, I submitted draft text and supportive information for a proclamation. It was a bittersweet moment when they got back to me to say June 2nd would be proclaimed MA Tip-Over Awareness Day! When I received the proclamation in the mail, I cried.
I chose June 2nd because June is the National Safety Council's Safety Month and the first week of the month is home hazard awareness week. Tip-overs are a clear and present hazard in every single home, and one that despite 16 years of advocacy by myself and other parents who have lost their children to tip-overs since Meghan died, the vast majority of Americans are either still unaware of the very real risk of furniture, TV, and even appliance tip-overs and how to prevent them, or they mistakenly don't believe their child is at risk. This PSA from the CPSC should clearly demonstrate why any unsecured dresser is a potential deadly weapon.
It is my hope that with this proclamation in Massachusetts, the media will help me to increase not only awareness of the very real and ever present risk of tip-overs, particularly tip-overs of dressers and other bedroom furniture typically used to store clothing, but to educate the citizens of the Commonwealth how to prevent a potentially deadly tip-over from happening to someone they love and care for. This proclamation has the potential to save lives.
As I've written before, the day Meggie died, as I held her small, beautiful, lifeless body in my arms and rocked her in the UMass Pediatric Emergency Room, I tearfully whispered a promise to her that she'd be the last child to ever die from a dresser tip-over. She was not, but I have since promised her I'd continue to advocate in her memory until we can get a law that will require manufacturers to build more stable and safer furniture (the STURDY Act) and retailers to sell only furniture that complies with the highest current standard. In the meantime, the most effective way to prevent tip-overs is to properly anchor furniture, TV's, and appliances to the wall. Governor Baker's Proclamation has gotten me one step closer to being able to keep that promise and fulfill that dream.
I've sent a press release to the local media outlets and newspapers, as well as local and national child safety organizations and pray that they, too, believe that this is a worthy and important child and home safety news story. You can find the press release here. If you are in a position to share this information, please do. I would love to see additional states issue Tip-Over Awareness Day proclamations and get us closer to ending injuries and deaths from tip-overs. That is the mission of Meghan's Hope.