About seven years ago, three-year-old Katie Elise Lambert was killed when a large, unsecured piece of furniture fell on her. Since Katie’s death, her family has been releasing butterflies on her birthday… but her family didn’t stop there.
Her father, Bob Lambert, along with her mother Judy, following their daughter’s death, researched tip-over fatalities in the country. The pair then founded Katie’s Foundation for Child Safety, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children by “increasing the awareness to parents of the hidden dangers that present themselves in everyone's home.”
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 293 reported tip-over related fatalities in the country between 2000 and 2010; 245 of the deaths involved children under the age of eight. Sixty percent of the fatalities involved a television falling and 31 percent involved furniture; 74 percent of the deaths happened in a residential setting.
And, according to the CPSC, between 2008 and 2010 there was an estimated annual average of 43,400 people who were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments for injuries related to the instability of televisions, furniture and appliances.
To read the entire CPSC report from 2011, click on our PDF section.
In addition to creating the foundation, Bob Lambert, a real estate agent from the Jenkintown section of Abington, sits in on meetings for the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), an organization dedicated to the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards.
“Basically, I sit in on meetings where all the furniture manufacturers gather to prevent these accidents from happening,” Lambert said. “The decisions that come out of these meetings are voluntary but they’re usually adopted as the industry standard, which makes a difference — the companies take the advice learned at the meetings.”
Event on Saturday
Katie Lambert’s birthday is July 30. There will still be a butterfly release in her honor, but it will be larger (and has been for the past four years).
This Saturday, July 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be the fourth annual Monarch Butterfly Release and Safety Event at Jeanes Hospital in Philadelphia.
“Basically, we started doing it on or around Katie’s birthday — it was just a small group of family members, and some people from church, but then I heard Jeanes Hospital was interested in hosting it, so we took them up on it.
“The butterfly release is to help deal with bereavement,” Lambert continued. “Releasing of butterflies, especially the monarch, is a symbol, and it goes back to Native American cultures. What we’ve done is offer this one day event oriented toward children to enjoy.”
Approximately 150 monarch butterflies will be released at about 2 p.m. in what Lambert calls “something of a fireworks event.” The butterfly release is open to everyone, regardless of how a loved one died.
Butterflies will be available for purchase at the event. They are $20, and must be released at the event. The event will also feature food, including barbecue from Jack McDavid of Jack’s Firehouse restaurant; performances from local bands; and hugs at the hugging booth for the bereaved from volunteers from the Jeanes Hospital Pastoral Care Department.
All of the proceeds benefit Katie’s Foundation for Child Safety. For more information visit katieeliselambert.org.