The death of a four-year-old girl has led to a push for a blind cord safety device to be distributed more widely.
The death of a four-year-old girl has led to a push for a blind cord safety device to be distributed more widely.

Warning over a simple household item that kills children

A four-year-old girl tragically died after her neck got tangled in a roller blind cord.

The youngster was playing in the bedroom with her sister when she somehow became entangled.

The incident was revealed as a coroner urged authorities to further drive home the dangers of curtain and blind cords.

After three years of no deaths four infants have died in such accidents in the past year.

The little girl, known only as Infant A, had not long had breakfast when the tragedy unfolded in October last year.

Infant A's mother watched the girl play with her sister - all three having just stood by the kitchen window and waved the girls' father goodbye.

"The children's play moved to the hallway near the front door and then to Infant A's bedroom where the girls first played with some wooden blocks, before Infant A's mother built towers with them and then read them a book in Infant A's bedroom,'' a coronial finding noted.

"Infant A's mother left and returned to the room while the children played.

"She said that she could see Infant A's sister sitting facing the cupboard while she was in the kitchen. Soon after, on noticing that the house sounded quiet Infant A's mother returned to the bedroom to check on Infant A and her sister.

"On doing so she saw the curtain cord wrapped around Infant A's neck."

The mum immediately lifted and unwound the cord from Infant A's neck, placing her on the bed.

Infant A was unresponsive.

Infant A's mother phoned emergency services, moved her daughter to the floor and began CPR.

Paramedics arrived and took the girl to hospital but investigations showed she had suffered a severe lack of oxygen to the brain.

Her heartbroken family after multiple consultations with medical staff made the difficult decision to disconnect their daughter's ventilator.

Police believe the girl climbed on to bedside drawers next to the blind cord and somehow became entangled.

Infant A slipped from the bedside table with the cord around her neck which left her hanging.

The blinds were the original in the house which was built about a decade ago, the girl's parents buying it five years earlier.

Coroner John Olle commended Consumer Affairs Victoria which, after the deaths of two young children, has for a decade run a public awareness campaign about the dangers of roller blind and curtain cords.

Mr Olle urged further distribution of safety kits containing a device that attaches looped cords to a window frame under tension, reducing the likelihood of a child placing the loop over their head or becoming entangled.

Nationwide in the decade to December 31 last year, 10 children died as a result of accidental blind cord strangulation.

"It is paramount that public safety authorities continue to provide ongoing information and warning campaigns to inform those with young children and their family and friends of the risks associated with curtain and blind cords and the need for vigilance in relation to installation and maintenance,'' Mr Olle said.

"I convey my sincerest sympathy to Infant A's family and friends."

wes.hosking@news.com.au

Originally published as Warning for parents as girl dies in blind cord tragedy


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