A toddler has died after getting entangled in a window blind cord.
Sophie Allen, 2, was playing hide and seek with her 4-year-old brother, Jayden, when she became stuck and suffered brain damage from the lack of oxygen.
Her mum, Danielle Hudson, became aware something was wrong when her son came to tell her Sophie was stuck, at their home in Sunderland.
Danielle 28, shared her devastating story with the Sunderland Echo. “My son came in and said ‘Sophie’s stuck’ and pointed at the cupboard. I didn’t understand what he meant and just thought she was hiding.
“I walked over to the window and saw a shadow behind the curtain. I pulled it open and she was hanging with the cord around her neck.
“I lifted her up and she made a little gasp. I carried her downstairs and her dad Peter was trying to do CPR, while I called for an ambulance.”
Sophie was rushed to hospital where staff tried to resuscitate her for more than an hour, but she died a few days later.
Sophie’s grieving mum now wants to warn other parents of the dangers of blinds.
She said: “Blinds are something that practically every household has and in children’s bedrooms.
“Just tie them out of the way, keep them out of reach of children, cut them or take them down altogether – just make sure children have no access to them.”
How to make your window blinds safe
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has run a blind cord safety campaign for several years. RoSPA estimates that there have been at least 15 blind cord deaths in the UK since early 2010.
Most of these accidental deaths have occurred in the bedroom. And most at risk are children between the ages of 16 and 36 months, with more than half at around 2 years old.
The good news is that a new EU standard, introduced in February 2014, tightens up safety regulations. This means all new blinds must be ‘safe by design’ and come with appropriate child safety devices already fitted.
Fine if you’re buying new blinds, but if you have older blinds, follow this safety advice:
- Install blinds that do not have a cord, particularly in a child’s bedroom
- Do not place a child’s cot, bed, playpen or highchair near a window
- Pull-cords on curtains and blinds should be kept short and kept out of reach
- Tie up the cords or use one of the many cleats, cord tidies, clips or ties that are available
- Do not hang toys or objects that could be a hazard on the cot or bed
- Don’t hang drawstring bags where a small child could get their head through the loop of the drawstring
- Don’t cut blind cords even as a short-term solution. Cut cords can also become tangled up resulting in the reformation of a loop.
The bottom line is, if you’re unable to make your blinds safe, replace them with new safe ones.
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MadeForMums Writer – Jessica Gibb