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Grieving mother is pushing for urgent change to rental laws after the death of her toddler.

Skye Quartermaine, found her 22-month-old son, Reef Kite, pinned underneath a wooden chest of drawers in their Perth home back in 2015.

The accident occurred after the young mother had asked her landlord if she could secure the furniture to the wall.

Reef died from asphyxia caused by ‘crush injuries’ after the 1.25 metre wooden chest fell on him, 7 News reported the WA Coroner’s Court heard on Monday.

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The young mother and her family appeared in court to advocate for a change to rental laws, which would allow tenants to secure furniture to walls without asking permission.

Ms Quartermaine says she was refused permission to bolt the chest of drawers to the wall, but holds no hard feelings towards her former landlord.

‘I would fully advocate and work with anyone willing to help change the law to allow parents to bolt back furniture without any ramifications,’ Ms Quartermaine said.

Assisting counsel to the coroner, Sergeant Lyle Housiaux, told reporters the inquest hopes to raise awareness about the dangers of unstable furniture.

‘One of the main purposes of the inquest is to raise public awareness about the dangers of unstable furniture which is not secured to a wall and is within the reach of children,’ Sgt Housiaux said.

Ms Quartermaine had put her son Reef to sleep in his bedroom on October 13, 2015.

While she checked on the boy to find him sleeping soundly, a few hours later she found the toddler not breathing, having been pinned beneath the drawers.

Watch how easy it is for a chest of drawers to fall below

The family created a group “Bolt it Back for Reef” to keep pushing and raise awareness to families so no-one else suffers like they have.

Yesterday we shared that another toddler had died earlier this year after the Ikea drawers toppled on top of him. He was the eighth child to be killed by the dressers. Read that heartbreaking story here.

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  • I wonder if she was clear in her request, or if it got mangled through an agent. That’s an extra issue.

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  • If it came down to the sweet you of my child, I would have just bolted the drawers to the wall and not said anything. Worst that could happen is I lose my bond when I move out. At least I would still have my kids

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  • For the sake of a couple of holes in a wall, a young life is snuffed out way too early …. no life is worth a few dollars in repairs … I agree wholeheartedly with changes to the rental laws!

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  • So tragic and something the mother tried to prevent. She’s taking it better than I would in regards to not being upset with the landlord. I didn’t have drawers like that myself, they are dangerous unsecured. RIP dear one.

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  • Very sad !
    I can imagine that landlords don’t want to get their walls damaged, but a life is so much more worthed. We can patch up and fix a wall, but can’t raise the dead.

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  • It would be good if we’re just part of the bond / contact that it needs to be patched before moving on.

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  • Very scary and reading the comments it seems most people have had an experience of some sort with furniture and toddlers. We had a small bookshelf fall on my daughter after she thought it was a good idea to climb it and try to sit on top.

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  • It is hard enough to get a place to rent then have all these rules about what you can not do.I agree it is just a simple fix it job when you leave.

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  • Is very sad to read the story. …. Being an ex-landlord, the safety and well being of tenants is very important, would have just been a matter of repairs being done when tenant moves.

    When my children were little we had one of those really old fridges. For some reason my daughter decided to open the door and climb the shelves. The fridge came down on her, thankfully she was basically in the fridge, with just a bit of bruising from the shelves hitting her. The fridge just missed my toddler son, who had only just started crawling and was sitting near by. Somehow, I found the inner strength to lift that old fridge off my daughter.


    • Oh my! That must have been so scary! I’m glad nothing serious happened. Yes, with small kids around, we need to stay sharp all the time.

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  • Oh no this is terrible. Unimaginably sad. The whole rental industry needs an overhaul. I have read an article recently that stated a person was put on a black list they knew nothing about and it can render a person almost unable to attain another property to rent. With the rise of housing and many people missing out on being able to purchase a property, I think the industry is wide open in terms of being able to be exploited.

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  • If only the landlord did agree it would be a different story now,so sad.

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  • How heart breaking!

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  • Where a child’s safety is at risk I’d just do it. Its easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission. I doubt most rental inspections would even pick it up and its easy enough to fix when you leave. I do hope they win their fight though.

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  • Oh, yes, I read it this morning in the newspaper. Really horrendous. I think the mother is right in trying to change rental laws. Because the death of this little boy could have been avoided. :-(

    Reply

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