Girl Scout Gold Award project promotes child safety

A Xavier Preparatory student is increasing awareness about the potential deadly effects of not properly securing furniture. She is spreading the word about toppling furniture through her Girl Scout Gold Award project.

“Few people know about the dangers of furniture toppling over,” said high school senior and longtime Girl Scout, Ellie Fessler.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, furniture topples in the U.S. send a child to the emergency room every 24 minutes, and kills a child every two week on average.

Fessler has been personally affected by such an incident. Her 2-year-old cousin from back East was tragically killed when an unsecured dresser fell on top of her.

This devastating event sparked the campaign called Maddie’s Message, an organization named after her cousin that educates the public about the deadly effect unsecured furniture can have on children.

Fessler decided to pair up with Maddie’s Message and dedicate her Girl Scout Gold Award project to educating the community of the dangers of not securing furniture.

According to the Girl Scouts of America website, the Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve. The honor is earned by identifying a problem, coming up with a plan and educating people of the issue. This is exactly what Fessler set out to accomplish.

“I thought that there was definitely something that needed to be done about it,” said Fessler.

Furniture and television topples are easily preventable. Fessler has been promoting furniture safety through a furniture strap kit. Each kit contains brackets, some screws and industrial zip ties to anchor furniture to the wall. Fessler said that it takes less than 15 minutes to install the kit.

She distributed 500 furniture strap kits along with safety information at local car seat safety checks and preschools. She also posted a video tutorial on YouTube, which demonstrates how to properly install the furniture safety brackets to secure furniture.

Fessler hopes not only to increase community awareness, but also increase the number of companies that carry furniture safety kits.

“Nobody is going to think about it unless they see the kits in the furniture section,” said Fessler.

Fessler has helped the community through Girl Scouts before, when she completed her Bronze and Silver Award projects with her troop.

“Girl Scouting is less about the badges and more about the leadership experience,” said Fessler.

To learn more about Fessler’s campaign, you can visit the Maddie’s Message website at maddiesmessage.com or visit Fessler’s Facebook page titled Strap Your Furniture For Safety.

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