Skip to main content
Home » Childhood Wellness » Why You’re Never Done Safety-Proofing
Childhood Wellness

Why You’re Never Done Safety-Proofing

Photos: Courtesy of the Horn Family

“You can fix a hole in the wall…but you can’t fix a hole in your heart.”

I had never heard these words prior to November 2007. Had I heard them, they likely wouldn’t have made a huge impact on me at the time, but the past 10 years repeating these words and other child safety tips are the only way I can still connect with my son Charlie. 

Family tragedy

Charlie was two and a half years old, a triplet, one of four young children in our house and the happiest kid you have ever seen. My wife and I are educated, hardworking parents who appeared to have it all figured out. Our suburban Kansas City home was a busy place full of dirty diapers, daily messes and toys everywhere you turned. Yes, we had childproofed our home…or at least we thought. We had plug-in covers, blind cords up, baby gates and corners of the coffee table protected. But we didn’t do enough.

Despite an audio monitor in his room, after waking from a nap Charlie was tragically killed when a short children’s dresser only 30 inches high tipped over on top of him and took his life. There was little or no crashing sound for our nanny to hear, as Charlie buffered the sound and was trapped between the dresser and the floor while his brother was still asleep in the same room.

Preventing another tragedy

Obviously, the pain of losing a child is immeasurable; furthermore, it is greatly magnified by the guilt that comes with the knowing that I could have prevented my son’s death. Had I taken the time out of my busy schedule to educate myself further about all in home dangers to children, would Charlie still be alive?

We can’t keep our children in a bubble and, unfortunately, accidents happen, but we can prevent many unnecessary tragedies in our own home. To help keep other children safe, we created Charlie’s House. Getting educated about all in-home dangers is the first step, but it’s not enough. Take action to properly safety-proof your home.

Charlie’s House was named in memory of Charlie Horn, a Kansas City boy whose life tragically ended at the age of 2 when a small dresser in his home fell on him. The mission of Charlie’s House is to prevent injuries to children in and around the home. Preventable injuring in and around the home are the most common cause of death in children ages 1-14 years. While it may be impossible to eliminate all risks in the home, you can take steps to reduce them. Go to to see a complete list of suggestions and take a virtual tour of a safety home. We are a 501(c)3 organization that relies solely on donations.

Brett Horn, Chair — Fundraising Committee, Charlie’s House, [email protected]

Next article