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Kitchen tragedy - child safety

December is traditionally a month filled with joyful anticipation of wonderful things to come. That will not be the case in several central Missouri homes for many years to come. In those homes, December now holds memories full of anguish and heartache.

Her name was Raven. A delightful sprite of a child, whose favorite thing in the whole world was to have 'The Velveteen Rabbit' read to her. She was my friend's granddaughter and she was just 3 1/2 years-old when a tragic, entirely preventable mishap took her life just 8 days before Christmas.

On that day, Raven, who didn't weigh quite 30 pounds, wanted some cookies from the cabinet above the stove. Normally, she would climb onto the kitchen countertop to reach her prize; however, the lower cabinets had been removed during a kitchen renovation. To overcome this obstacle, she opened the oven to stand on the door. The little brown-eyed angel with a cherub's cheeks and long brown hair had no idea that her weight on the oven door would cause the stove to rock forward. Raven was thrown to the floor and struck in her little chest with enough force to stop her beating heart. Her voice was quieted forever.

I don't believe any of us would have expected this result from an innocent trip to the cookie jar. I hope this will remind everyone again how quickly terrible things can happen. Children are so very precious. You cannot be too diligent with their care.

Many newer stoves available in the marketplace have bars by which stoves can be bolted to the floor. Had the stove in Raven's house been bolted to the floor, December would still be a time of joyful anticipation for her parents, brother, sister, grandparents, and all who knew her. Please don't invite this heartache into your house. Do not let your children climb on the appliances in your house. To be safe, ensure your appliances cannot be tipped over. Stoves are not the only top-heavy appliances in most American homes. Be vigilant on behalf of your children. Their safety is a parent's job.

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