HomeChild SafetyClose CallsOne slip, Almost a Tragedy

Nov. 2008
A family home video caught every parent’s worst nightmare on tape, and it illustrates just how quickly something disastrous can happen. It occurred when the family was posing for a group picture at the ocean side in California, next to the edge of a 150 foot cliff. It was a designated scenic area, with a railing on the side. Three-year-old Elena was backing up to take her position for the photograph, when her calves bumped up against the bottom railing, causing her to lose her balance. Stumbling backwards, she tumbled over the post and out of sight.

“My reaction was just sheer panic. I really thought I had lost her,” said Charlotte Pitton, the girls’ mother, in a television interview describing the incident. “Nothing like this has ever happened before.” Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. Another family member saw her tumble and was able to leap over the railing, snagging the youngster in the knick of time. There were a few feet of steep weeds before the edge dropped off entirely to the rocks below. He snatched her by one hand and was able to pull the girl to safety.

“I was shaken, my head was shaken, my arms were shaken, and my feet too,” says the little girl, recalling her scary ordeal. We like this story not only because it has a happy ending, but in particular because it provides a great example of how quickly something can go wrong. This child wasn’t being careless or reckless, nor were her parents. Yet one stumble, caused by a missing fence post that provided a large space for a child to fall through, almost caused a simple trip-up to be disastrous. Hopefully this example will give parents a little extra juice in the spicy-sense of what can
potentially pose a danger. That, and beware of little kids around missing fence-posts near cliffs..


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