Mum’s stark blind cord warning as 2 year old goes limp in front of her

Thankfully little Riley survived - but mum Karen wants his story out there


A frantic mum has shared on Facebook how her 2-year-old son was almost hung by a window blind cord as he played with his little brother.


It’s a tale that highlights how children can get into dangerous situations within seconds, even when you’re watching them. And that’s why teaching assistant Karen Shelley decided to take to Facebook – to warn other parents of the dangers of blind cords. 

“On my way to Medway hospital as my 2-year-old son hung himself from the blind cord,” was her first heartfelt post. “if anyone has cords hanging and has children please just cut it.” She then shared a pic of the cord Riley had become trapped in. 

As concerned friends and family responded to her message, Karen updated them, saying:

“Thank you everyone for your messages. X Please share my post. This happened in seconds right in front of me, even then the outcome could have been so different. Instead of having a loop hanging, just cut it so it’s 2 separate cords.The cord doesn’t snap. It held his weight!” 

“Riley was just hanging there, limp”

Speaking later to the Mirror, Karen said that little Riley ‘went limp’ before her eyes as the length of plastic cord became entangled around his neck.

She said she felt as though she was watching in slow motion as Riley stood up on the windowsill and fell through the cord.

“It just happened so quickly. I honestly thought he was dead. My legs just collapsed under me as I crawled up the settee,” she said.

“He had hold of the cord on both sides of the loop and as he jumped down it went round his neck and pulled him back up a little – then he was just hanging there, limp.

Thankfully, the quick thinking of his 16-year-old sister Sammy saved his life.

“Sammy grabbed him, she got there before me and pulled him up. I just kept screaming ‘no, no, no, no’ – I thought he had died. His eyes started bulging out from his head and he turned this funny colour,” Karen explained. 

The little boy was taken to hospital where his oxygen levels were checked. He is now recovering from his ordeal at home, but Karen feels he is lucky to be alive.

It happened in seconds

“It’s amazing how quickly the colour went, it only took 2 or 3 seconds and he was completely pale. It’s just something you never want to see – your child just hanging there lifeless. The doctor actually said to me it only takes 5 seconds for this sort of fatality to happen.”

She said that doctors told her that Riley’s outcome could have been very different. 

“He said Riley had been extremely lucky and that if it had been a couple of inches lower and the cord had hit his windpipe it could have been a lot worse,” she said. “It doesn’t even bear thinking about.”

Karen said Riley, who has autism, loves to sit on the windowsill so he can watch cars going past, and that she usually wraps the cord round the top of the pole to prevent accidents happening. Unfortunately, that morning, she had forgotten to move it out of his way.

“It’s so dangerous. It goes to show it only takes one day for something like this to happen,” she said, before adding, “I’ve been so lucky and I know I was lucky. I just feel so sorry for the parents that have lost their children in this way.”

Abuse after her warning

And shockingly (although perhaps predictably…) despite speaking out to WARN other parents of this danger, Karen has actually received abuse for posting about it, with some online commenters claiming she had left her kids alone (she hadn’t, she clearly stated could see them all the time). *rolls eyes*

We think Karen was absolutely right and brave to go public with this. 

Blind cords can prove fatal to children, as news stories so sadly often tell us. In fact, in the States right now a story has broken about the death of a Philadelphia Eagles player’s 3-year-old daughter who suffocated after getting trapped in a cord at the family’s home in Utah. 

We are just so glad that little Riley is OK – and in light of his horrible accident and the tragic story in the US, perhaps we should all take a moment to have a quick blind-cord safety refresher, eh?  

The key safety rules are:

  • Don’t fit blinds with a cord in kids’ bedrooms.
  • Make sure all pull-cords on curtains and blinds (wherever they are in the house) are kept short and well out of children’s reach.

Since 2014, new blinds in the UK must now meet stronger safety requirements. This means that where there is a cord loop, or one could be created, a safety device must be installed by the manufacturer. These safety devices either break under pressure, tension the cord or chain or provide the facility to store the cord out of reach. You’ll need a professional installer to fit these.

We’ve got all the info on how to safely fit blinds at home here – and it really is essential reading. 

Pic: Karen Shelley/Facebook

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