Toddler Blind Cord Inquest
25 May 2012, 11:16
A family from Hertfordshire have been told they couldn't have done any more to save the life of a two year old caught up in a window blind cord.
Arthur Winfield from Markyate (right) got entangled as he tried to look out of his bedroom window. He was the second toddler to die in window blind cord accidents in Hertfordshire in two months.
An inquest in Hatfield heard he had stood on a small stool to look out of the window of the family's home in Summer Court on Thursday 5 January 2012 to see if his friend had arrived.
He was found by his mother Emma when she went to check on him. She called 999.
Arthur was taken to Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London where he died five days later on 10 January. He had suffered severe brain damage due to lack of oxygen.
The coroner Edward Thomas recorded a verdict of accidental death.
In a statement Mrs Winfield and her husband Oli, who have an older daughter said: "Arthur was a healthy, happy and loving boy.
"As the youngest, he was the centre of our family and our daughter's best friend.
"It goes without saying that we are completely lost following his sudden death. Our daughter has saved us from the worst depths of despair.
"It was a tragic accident, with many contributing elements, which we have replayed over asking ourselves 'what if'."
Mr Thomas assured the family there was nothing else they could have done.
Arthur's death followed that of two year old Emily Warner. She was found in her bedroom in Royston, Herts on 25 August 2011. She was resuscitated but suffered major brain damage and died in hospital in Cambridge on 1 December.
Following his death both families were part of a campaign by Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (HSCB) to raise awareness of the dangers of looped blind cords and chains.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said there has been at least 18 death similar to these in the UK since 1999. Most take place in a bedroom with an average of two children a year dying in blind cord or chain-related incidents.
Phil Picton, the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children's Board Chair, said: "We must do everything in our power to reduce the risk of these terrible tragedies being repeated. It doesn't take much time to ensure your blind cords and chains are safe. Simply making sure that blind cords are tied up out of reach, even if your child climbs up to try to reach it, could prevent them from being seriously hurt or killed."
Detective Inspector Joanne Walker from Hertfordshire Police's Child Protection Unit said: "Having seen the emotional devastation these cases have brought to the family of Emily and Arthur, it makes total sense to launch a campaign like this to try to prevent similar tragedies happening in the future."
Hertfordshire Cabinet Member for Children's Services Richard Roberts said: "It is hard to imagine the pain Arthur and Emily's parents much be experiencing.
"I am very grateful that they have felt able to come forward and use their own personal tragedies as a warning to others. We want all Hertfordshire's children to stay safe and by making a few changes, everyone can help to protect the county's children from this sort of accident."
Make is Safe packs are available from RoSPA. These include a cleat to tie the cord around and safety advice to reduce the dangers.