Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hidden Dangers - Parents Worst Nighmare

This past January while at work I received very bad news. Something so unexpected you just never know how to react. To this day when I hear or read the name Sammy Shpigler I cry.

The Shpigler family were on there annual vacation in Hawaii during the winter holidays. They were having a wonderful time. While the mother was changing her clothes in one room the father was in the bathroom and I think the rest of the family were in the living room area. The mother had locked the balcony door but the younger children thought it would be great to go out on the balcony. Tow children went out the door but only one came back in. Three year old Sammy had slipped through the railings on the balcony and fell to his death.

The space between crib railings, residential stair railings and new construction of commercial buildings now must comply with the less than 4" rule. There are some states who do not have this regulation on the space between railings. Some states have a grandfather clause that does not require them to update the safety standards. One of these hotels was the Hilton Hawaiian Village where the Shpiglers were staying.

Around this time last year we were at a hotel with an inside balcony overlooking the pool. Snow White and my friend's daughter wanted to go out on the balcony. We said it was ok but did not want them standing on the bottom rung of the railing. The hotel was going through some renovations as it was not a new hotel. My thoughts were on the bolts connecting the railing to the wall. If they were loose the railing could come off and our girls would fall to the cement floor below. The thought of them slipping through the bars of the railing did not occur to me. I automatically thought they would be too close together as were all railings in our every day life since Snow White was born.

The railings in ALL hotels should be upgraded to the standard. They can be changed out with railings of proper spacing or sturdy safety glass/plastic sheets can be installed. Balcony doors should be equipped with a safety lock that not only prevents someone other than the occupants to enter but also a lock which prevents a child from access.

The Shpiglers have created the Sammy's Spirit Organization www.SammysSpirit.org dedicated to helping others and changing the child safety regulations. There story will appear on Inside Edition tonight. I encourage everyone, whether you have children or not, to watch this show. Check the web site for the air times in your area at www.InsideEdition.com.

7 comments:

Pageant Mom said...

I remember when this story broke, and how it just broke my heart.
We have donated to the fund, and I wish this family all the prayers in the world to heal their heartbreak. We have some acquaintances that lost their baby to the Fisher Price little people toys (back when they were small) and their campaign, although unable to remove the toys from the market, are at least responsible for the increase in size of that toy. Miraculously, they went on to have two more children, and they started a mission for parents grieving the loss of a child. Dangers lurk all around us, and it's a shame it takes a tragedy to create awareness of even the most "obvious" (Not so very obvious many times) of risks. Again, my heart goes out to Sammy's family and what they are doing, and THANK YOU for helping spread that awareness of their cause!!! p.s. I didn't make it home in time to see the show :o(

Pageant Mom said...

p.s.s. I said miraculously because so many times tragedies like this just tear families apart. They were, through the power of faith and family, able to move on and turn tragedy into something farther reaching and even positive...

MommasWorld said...

I knew Lauren, Amanda and Hannah before Sammy unexpectily left us here. Unfortunetly I had only met Sammy himself once. I do not claim to know them on a personal level but only saw them at functions here and there when we attended the same. I saw Lauren, Amanda and Hannah a few months ago and so admired how well they are all doing. It makes me believe if something that tragic happens life there is part of you that can go on. I thought if anything like that happened in my life I would be in a rubber room or dead. Thank goodness for people like Lauren to show you can go on and she is continuing to hold her family together. They make a wonderful inpact on thier family and others.

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bill said...

Shpigler family.Our hearts go out to you.Dawn-william-bill achnitz

bill said...

Shpigler family.Our hearts go out to you.dawn,william,,bill achnitz

Amber said...

Hey, i didn't notice when this was published or the comments were left, but it is now 5 years after little Sammy's death, and his story is still so touching. My daughter does pageants with the Sphigler's little girls, andI know that the mom is amazing, and is trying to spread child saftey awareness always. She wants Sammy's memory to live on and help others children to be safe. The family is amazing and I am blessed to know such wonderful strong people.