Stricter fencing regulations to save children’s lives
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On March 22, 2018 our middle son, Kade Damian died in a horrible, yet preventable accident. His neck became caught between the bars protruding above the top rail of the neighbors wrought iron fence. He tried to climb over the fence. It is a low, decorative wrought iron fence (about 4 feet high). The fence has a horizontal bar near the bottom and top making it easy for someone to climb.
I recently went to speak with the ER doctor and was told that our son was dead within moments. His neck fit perfectly between the bars (the fence is built following the current fence code) and the instant pressure on the carotid artery stopped blood flow to his brain, stopped his heart, and then breathing. He was out of sight for no more than 5 minutes. He had gone into the back yard to play with his younger brother after a snack. My husband and I were in the yard on the opposite side of the house. The boys could be heard playing from where we were just outside the fence. Our gate (the one Kade left the yard from) was supposed to be locked from the outside, preventing the boys from getting out. The clip on the gate had been left off by neighborhood boys who came over to play the day before. We found the clip laying on a tall fence post the next day. We did not realize the clip was off when Kade went out to play. For whatever reason, probably because he knew that was the direction the “big boy” friends came from pretty much daily. Kade opened the gate to our yard and walked across the next-door neighbor’s yard (they have no fencing) to the back of their yard to try to climb over the fence to his friend’s house.
I tell you this not for your sympathy, but for the safety of your own children and animals. You may have seen the video of the fawn caught on a picket fence in Eugene, Oregon on Thursday last week? If you Google “fawn caught in fence”, the pictures will tell you this is not an uncommon occurrence. The fawn in this situation, caught its back side between the pickets at the top of the fence when attempting to jump over. This is the exact same thing that happened to Kade! The fawn was lucky that it was his backside and not his neck that was caught. The fawn, with help from an officer, escaped the fence with a scrape. Our son was not so lucky.
See the video here:
I share our hurt and story to make you, your family, neighbors, and community aware of the danger! We did not ever think of the wrought iron fence as a danger. We have all the safety items in our house to protect our children- outlet covers, baby gates, etc… We had even moved to a new house to get off a super busy street prone to speeding to keep our boys safe.
I NEVER thought that the fence was a danger until my husband found our son hanging on the fence that afternoon. His body lifeless. Kade looked like he was sleeping, but his brain had died before we found him.
There are so many “ifs” from that afternoon. My husband and I are attentive, loving, nurturing parents. We are outside with our kids playing, at the ball park to support them during a game, helping with homework after school, reading bedtime stories. You hear of children being left alone for hours, neglected. This was not the case with Kade. He was LOVE wrapped in a little boy and LOVED to the fullest extent possible. Kade loved adventure and had a joyful and playful spirit that was infectious. We will miss him with every breath and heartbeat until the day we meet again.
Until that day, it is my mission to educate people about the dangers of this type of fencing, to advocate for safe fence options, and work to change fence laws and regulations so that no other animal, child, or adult is injured or killed in the manner our son was. Safe fencing option already exist. A flat-topped fence would not have killed Kade. I hope that sharing our story will prevent any other injuries and deaths and keep another mother or father from walking through life with a shattered heart.
I ask that you share our story, write to your insurance agency, home builders, fencing companies, Home Depot, Lowe’s, local, state, and national law makers and ask them to change fence laws to keep your children safe! Share with other mothers and fathers. If you have this type of fencing, please replace it or modify it! Our son would still be alive and well today if the fence had been flat on top and the bars closer together! The fawn in the video would not have gotten caught if the pickets were closer together.
Banisters have been changed because of injuries and deaths, so have cribs. I need your voice and support to help our message be heard by people who can and will make fence law change happen. I need your help to ensure that no other child dies like Kade did.
I know we should have had eyes on our son at all moments. However, the time he was out of our sight was equivalent to a trip to the bathroom. Our story could easily be yours. Please, please take a moment and share. Take two and write your local representatives or make a phone call to share and request that regulations on wrought iron fences and picket fences be modified to prevent deaths or injuries.
I have included a picture of the fence Kade died on as well as a video of the fawn from Oregon.
To learn more about Kade and follow our progress like @KadeDamian on Facebook.
We have established a non-profit in Kade’s honor called The Playful Child Foundation: healthier kids mentally and physically. We are currently raising funds to build a playground and park in memory of Kade. To learn more about the foundation and park project please visit www.theplayfulchild.org
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