Monday, July 7, 2014

Parenting the Gifted: No limits on trouble.

An acquaintance told me earlier this week that with gifted kids, it seems there is no minimum age, nor maximum age, for any kind of trouble. I found that out myself, the hard way, last week. And, since this blog hop happens at the perfect time to share, I felt that you know, our story? Maybe it'll help others. Either for safety, or to feel less crappy about themselves. Either way, it's something I felt I needed to share.

Ages ago - just ages ago - I read a blog post about a little girl. She was three years old, and was crushed and killed under her little dresser. I have a climber of a child, and the first thing I did when I read this story was to check all my bookshelves. We have six different bookshelves in the house, and I had bolted them all to the walls before my son started walking. They were in tight, everything was okay.

Now at the time, I didn't think anything more of it. I didn't for years. Not until earlier this week. You see, I have a giant dresser in my bedroom. It, alone, weighs 140 pounds. It has a television on top of it, bumping that up to a good 200 (it's an old tube television!). Then, all the clothes in it. I didn't think much about it, after all, that's a HUGE dresser, and I can't move it by myself, how could a child? And even more, what nearly six year old child - especially one who loves logic as much as Mad Natter does - is climbing a dresser anyway?

That night, there was a bang. A HUGE bang, that sounded like someone had fallen down the stairs, even through headphones. Turns out, Mad Natter, while he was supposed to be using his hour in bed before lights out to read and play quietly, decided to try to climb up that dresser. It tipped. He fell, it fell on top of him, and the television hit his head on the way down.

Mercifully, the physics of the situation were in his favor. He fell next to the bed, and the dresser fell across the bed to the floor. He was pinned, yes, but by drawers alone, and not the full crushing weight of the dresser. The television knocked him on the head, giving him a goose egg and a scrape... then rolled off to the side. Skeeve lifted the dresser off our precious son, while I dragged him out from underneath. He was conscious, but obviously very shaken up. I checked him over for injury. He seemed fine, but very sedate. I called my mother - does he need to see someone NOW, or will the morning be early enough? We took him in to emerg, just to be safe.

Mercifully, he has come out of this with two scrapes, one scratch, and a few bruises. No broken bones, no concussion.

This is all I needed. This is the "huge" investment of time and money we needed to make this dresser safe. It cost me $7.30 after tax, and thinking we were safe and not spending that $7? It nearly cost my son his life. I thought we were safe. I thought there was no way he could ever knock over that dresser. It was well over 200 pounds! He's not even 6 yet, and barely over 45 pounds soaking wet! It didn't matter.

We're all readers here - and likely parents. Please. Take my experience to heart, I beg you. For under $10 and 15 minutes per, you can anchor your bookcases - and dressers -  to the wall. You can keep your most precious creations from tragic ends - no matter how old they are. Anchor the bookcases. Anchor your dresser. That piece of furniture in that room your kids never go in? Anchor that too. Please. Let my experience be the closest you ever come to this kind of disaster. Raise your precocious, and keep them safe.  Remember, with children like this?  There is no minimum age for disaster... but there isn't a maximum, either.

This post has been a part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum's July Blog Hop: Gifted Parenting.  To read more viewpoints on the topic, check the sidebar, or click here!

Edited, July 22, 2015.

Almost precisely one year after posting this, IKEA has issued a recall on their MALM dressers - the "adult" version being pictured above. They are sending out anchoring kits for said dressers, both adult and child versions, after several children were killed in exactly this scenario. However, the recall will not be effective without the original message: Please, please, please, anchor your furniture securely. Others have not been, and still others will not be, as fortunate as we were. Please, anchor your furniture - don't find out you should have after it crushes your child, your heart, your family.

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