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Toppling Furniture Danger: Mum’s Important Message after Losing 4 -Year-Old Son

One day after watching her little boy blow out his 4th birthday candles, Canadian mum, Madison Holley found his little body lifeless and blue, crushed under a dresser. Little Waylon Sam was rushed to hospital but sadly passed away.

The heartbroken mum now shares her story in hopes of ensuring something like this doesn’t happen to another family and to remind parents of the dangers of toppling furniture. It is so important to secure all furniture – bookshelves, drawers, dressers and anything else at risk of toppling over.  

Forever four

A day before Waylon’s tragic accident, he was celebrating his fourth birthday with his family, including his two brothers, Dallas and Cade. The boys had cake and opened presents and Waylon was smiling ear-to-ear. 

Waylon was a happy boy, literally always happy. He had autism so he had a unique personality. He would always grab everybody’s hands to take you (somewhere) or show you something,” Madison told 7News. 

Waylon Sam's toppling furniture warning
Little Waylon died just five days after turning four. Source: Facebook

All it took was a second

According to the Observer, on the day of the accident, Madison had hired a babysitter to watch her three boys while she was at the doctor’s. When she returned home the house was suspiciously quiet. She asked the babysitter where Waylon was and she explained he was playing in his room. He’d been in there for about 15 minutes.

Madison headed to his bedroom but when she rounded the corner, she noticed a large dresser on the ground. Waylon was trapped underneath it, unconscious and blue. 

The mum frantically tried to pull the heavy piece of furniture off her son and attempted to find a pulse. She couldn’t. She called an ambulance and performed CPR until paramedics arrived. 

Paramedics were able to restore Waylon’s breathing, and find a pulse, on the scene. They rushed Waylon to the hospital with Madison by her son’s side, praying he would be okay. 

Sadly, Waylon’s condition deteriorated and, in hospital, he was placed on life support. Scans showed that the little boy had no brain activity due to being deprived of oxygen for so long.

Just five days after her son’s birthday, Madison was forced to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off her son’s life support. 

Waylon saves three lives 

Madison agreed to donate her son’s organs after being approached by hospital staff. 

I’d never even heard or thought of (organ donation) until we were in the hospital,” Madison told The Observer. “I guess with everything that happened I was trying to see one good thing out of it, you know.”

“After all this, I never want another parent to feel the way I felt.”

His heart went to a boy younger than one, a two-year-old boy received his liver, and his small intestine went to a nine-year-old girl. 

Windmills for Waylon

Waylon was farewelled by friends and family two weeks after his death and since then, Madison has started Windmills for Waylon Sam, a Facebook page in honour of her son and his love of windmills.

toppling furniture death - waylon sam
Windmills for Waylon Sam

 Waylon adored windmills and his eyes would light up anytime he saw one. The mum encourages people to smile like Waylon did whenever he saw a windmill and supporters have been sharing their own images of windmills for Waylon from around the world. 

Madison and a local tattoo shop also joined forces for an event Windmills for Waylon where several people got windmill tattoos in honour of her little boy who loved windmills.

Windmills for Waylon Sam
Source: Windmills for Waylon Sam

You can show your support by sharing your own photo of a windmill in your area on the Facebook Page. We’re sure Waylon would have loved to see them. 

Toppling furniture prevention 

While Madison and her family grieve the loss of Waylon, she also hopes his story will encourage parents to always secure furniture. This includes TVs, dressers, bookshelves, drawers, and anything at risk of toppling over.

Children are curious and it only takes a second to climb onto a piece of furniture and have it topple over. 

According to the ACCC, toppling furniture has killed at least 28 people in Australia since 2000 and causes close to 20 injuries every week.

CCC Acting Chair, Delia Rickard, urges parents to check all possible risks and deal with them as soon as possible.

We strongly encourage parents and carers to check every room in their home for toppling hazards and anchor any tall or unstable furniture or large TVs,” she says. “If you don’t have anchor kits, you can buy them cheaply at hardware stores or furniture retail outlets.

The ACCC and Kidsafe have also released these guidelines for the best ways to minimise risk of falling furniture accidents.

Furniture safety tips

Buy Safe

  • Purchase low-set furniture or furniture with sturdy, stable and broad bases.
  • Look for furniture that comes with safety information or equipment for anchoring it to the walls.
  • Test the furniture in the shop – make sure it is stable. For example, pull out top drawers of a chest of drawers. Apply a little pressure to see how stable it is. Make sure the drawers do not fall out easily.

Use Safe

  • Attach, mount, bolt or otherwise secure furniture to walls and floors.
  • Do not put heavy items on top shelves of bookcases.
  • Secure televisions to the wall.
  • Discourage small children from climbing on furniture.
  • Do not put tempting items on top of furniture. This can encourage children to climb up and reach.
  • Do not place unstable furniture near where children play.
  • Put locking devices on all drawers to prevent children from opening them and using them as steps.

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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