Barrington Hills mom's mission receives a boost

Every day, Lisa Siefert thinks of the horrific discovery she made the afternoon of March 14, 2011.

Her 2-year-old son, Shane, was trapped underneath the dresser in his room, unresponsive.

Since then, the Barrington Hills mother has been committed to getting the word out about how parents can prevent deaths like Shane's and injuries from furniture tip-overs. Through the nonprofit Shane's Foundation she started last year, Siefert speaks to parent and physician groups, makes informational posters and hosts fundraisers.

“I do not want another family — a mom, dad or grandparent — to find their baby under a dresser,” she says. “That's why I'm out there.”

This week, her cause got two major assists: The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled dressers made by Bexco and Gemme Juvenile, including the same model of dresser that landed on her son. And Friday, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined with Siefert's group and other safety advocates in launching a statewide awareness campaign about the risk of tip-over accidents.

“I'm glad to see all the attention being brought to anti-tip education and awareness,” Siefert said.

But, she says, it's just a start.

Safety groups are trying to get furniture manufacturers — especially those that make items for nurseries — to include straps that can be used to secure furniture to walls and floors. They also want the straps to be sold at major retailers.

“Anti-tip straps are not on many shelves. It's overlooked. Our group and others are pushing to try to get those straps out on the shelves,” Siefert said. “We are educating the public, but if the straps aren't available, it won't do any good.”

A package of four straps costs about $5, she says.

Since 2011, at least four other children were killed when they tried to climb furniture and it tipped over, according to the attorney general's office.

And nationwide, one child dies every two weeks in a tip-over accident, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The commission's safety guidelines include anchoring furniture to the wall or floor; placing televisions on sturdy, low-base stands or furniture; keeping remote controls, toys and other items off television stands or furniture; keeping television and cable cords out of reach; and ensuring that free-standing kitchen ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets.

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