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
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.