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Kenmore mom wins victory for children's safety

Crystal Ellis' son, Camden, died when a dresser fell on him in 2014. A law aimed at preventing similar accidents will go into effect this year.

KENMORE, Wash. — There isn't a day that goes by that Crystal Ellis doesn't think about, and even talk to her son, Camden.

"My son should be in 5th grade this year," she says. "He should be here talking about 5th grade camp and all those other things."

Two days before Camden's second birthday, he climbed up on a dresser in his Kenmore home, toppling it over -- killing him.

"I thought Camden's passing was a freak accident," Crystal says.

Far from it.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports at least 581 children have died from furniture falling on them since 2000.

Crystal used that knowledge to turn her sadness into action.

"I had to dig myself out of the grief," she says. "It was eating me alive everyday that there was somebody like me out there welcoming a brand new baby into the world, and they had no idea what could be coming next."

Crystal formed a group called Parents Against Tip-overs, and fought for five years to enact federal legislation to better protect children from dangerous furniture.

With moms from across the country, and the help of Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, this week Crystal was able to get the Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers, or STURDY Act, passed into law.

It requires furniture manufacturers to test for and meet furniture safety and stability standards.

"This is a win for child safety," says Kimberly Amato, who lost her 3-year-old daughter, Meghan, to falling furniture.

Amato says, previously, compliance with safety standards was only voluntary.

"This is huge. Now, it will be a law. So, it will have to happen."

Almost a decade after her little boy's death, Crystal can finally exhale.

After passage of the act she says she had a conversation with Camden while flying home from Washington, D.C. She believes he'd been on this path with her the whole way.

"I started crying," she says. "I was saying, 'Buddy we did it. We did it. We're gonna keep those families safe.'"

The law doesn't go into effect until later this year.

Crystal points out there are still thousands of dressers in homes across the country that can easily tip over. She asks all parents to anchor that furniture to the wall.

Learn more at the Anchor It website.

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