We all have heard the warnings that dressers -- and all furniture for that matter -- should be firmly secured to the wall. But what if we don't, and a child gets hurt as a result?
In a recent tragic case, Marianella Torres-Matos, 27, of Pennsylvania, was sentenced to prison after her 14-month-old was crushed by a 160-pound dresser. She pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and will serve one and half to seven years in prison.
In her case, more than -- since she had left the boy and his 2-year-old sister home alone to run errands when it happened. Nothing can excuse such reckless neglect.
And her refusal to take responsibility for the situation is infuriating.
"I pleaded guilty because I left him alone, but I didn't kill him," she told the judge.
But your actions did -- sorry, no sympathy at all for this woman.
But what if, say, she'd just been in the other room cooking dinner or checking Facebook?
How much responsibility do we have to follow the "rules" and the suggestions of experts and even the basic knowledge that toddlers can't be trusted alone ... even for a second?
While each case is unique with its own set of circumstances, at some point we have to let accidents be what they are -- accidental.
Because don't we all stretch those seconds here and there? Whether it's not bolting a dresser to the wall, or trusting that an older sibling is watching them close enough while we run inside to check dinner ... we all take minor risks that we know we shouldn't with our children's safety.
And to some degree we have to. While we can profess and proclaim to keep them in our sight 24/7, it's unrealistic. And in those seconds or minutes, bad things can happen. A lot of parenting is luck, plain and simple.
The fact is we can do what we can to prevent accidents -- NOT leaving your child home alone is a good start -- but we also can't completely shield them either. And accidents happen ... sometimes even when we're right there.
How much responsibility do you think parents should have for accidents involving their child?
Image via Playful Librarian/Flickr