A Utah mother is sharing a heart-stopping video of her toddlers narrowly escaping tragedy after a dresser toppled onto them, hoping to raise awareness about the importance of safely securing furniture.
The video, captured on home surveillance footage last Thursday morning, shows Kayli Shoff's pajama-clad twin boys climbing onto a wide Ikea dresser in their room. As 2-year-old brothers Brock and Bowdy jump on the dresser and hang from its drawers, the furniture comes crashing down, pinning Brock's entire body underneath and catching Bowdy's feet.
"Obviously the weight of both of their bodies was too much for that dresser, so it came toppling over," Shoff, who lives in Orem, about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City, told NBC News on Tuesday.
Shoff said the boys had woken up early that morning. She estimated that up to seven minutes went by before she noticed the fallen dresser on the baby monitor. She ran to the boys' room, not knowing if they were injured.
In those terrifying moments before she got there, the video shows Bowdy had managed to wriggle himself out — and eventually edge the dresser just enough to free Brock, too.
"If you watch the video, I think he stops for about eight to 10 seconds and kind of analyzes the situation: My brother's crying, he's hurting, how can I help him?" Shoff said.
The twin's mother said she hadn't heard the boys' cries, a thud, or anything out of the ordinary coming from their room.
"And that was the weird thing, because I always hear them cry or scream. We also had family staying with us and their room was right above Brock and Bowdy's room, and they didn't hear anything either," she added.
Shoff whisked both boys off to the pediatrician, where they were given a clean bill of health, she said.
A Consumer Product Safety Commission source told NBC News the agency plans to send an investigator to speak to her and her husband about the incident to gather more information.
Shoff knows the scenario could have played out very differently. Tipped furniture is a leading cause of death among kids, with one child dying every two weeks because of items such as dressers, TVs, or appliances landing on them and crushing their windpipe or striking them in the head, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The agency recommends parents anchor furniture to the wall to prevent injury or death. Many dressers come with wall anchors. Inexpensive furniture straps can also be purchased separately at hardware stores or baby stores.
"You need to tie your dresser down today, because honestly if you wait a day or two, you're just not going to get it done."
The American Home Furnishings Alliance advises consumers to anchor all heavy furniture, not just the ones in children's rooms, and to verify that furniture meets industry standards for maintaining stability.
And advocacy groups such as Charlie's House offer childproofing safety checklists for parents to prevent tipping accidents or other tragedies around the home, including proper storage for cleaning products and how to block off fireplaces.
Shoff, who also has a 5-year-old son, says the dresser in their house has now been secured. Her husband, Ricky Shoff, who is a sales representative for the company that makes the home surveillance cameras that captured the incident, immediately bolted the dresser to the wall and took the knobs off of it so the boys can no longer climb up. He also put latches on the bottom drawers.
The dresser is made by Ikea, which just last month agreed to pay $50 million to the families of three children who were killed when their dressers tipped over and crushed them.
The dresser had come with wall anchors, but the Shoffs had never bothered to install them, thinking they didn't need them. The middle shelves of the dresser were already empty of clothing because the boys "would just throw them out anyways," Shoff said.
Her clip of the dresser falling has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. While some commenters have given the Shoffs criticism for not preventing the accident, the majority have thanked them for sharing the video, Shoff said.
"I think we've made a big impact on people wanting to secure their dressers," she said. "You need to tie your dresser down today because honestly, if you wait a day or two, you're just not going to get it done."