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.