Belfast Telegraph

Family devastated after boy killed by blind cord

Death of toddler second tragedy in community

By Victoria O'Hara

A well-known business family have been plunged into mourning after a three-year-old boy was killed in an accident involving a blind cord.

Daniel Grant (3), from Mayo-bridge near Newry, died after becoming entangled with the cord in his home on Saturday.

A police spokesman said they were investigating the incident on behalf of the coroner and there were no suspicious circumstances.

It is understood the toddler died in the early evening on Saturday.

A member of Mr Grant's family said on Sunday night they were too upset to speak of their loss.

The youngster comes from a well-known family which owns a supermarket in the Co Down town.

Among those who offered condolences to the family after visiting the home on Sunday were SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie and SDLP councillor Sean O'Hare.

In a joint statement they said their thoughts and prayers were with the Grants.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of a toddler in Mayobridge," they said.

"Our thoughts and prayers and those of the wider community in Mayobridge are with the family at this difficult time."

They added that the local community, will provide "all support, solidarity and prayers to the family in their sad and tragic loss".

The statement continued: "Bereavement is always difficult irrespective of the age of the person who has died, but is more poignant and difficult when the death has occurred of somebody so young.

"We also know that the local community in Mayobridge are also grieving for the family at this challenging and difficult time. It is important that all of us stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the family of the little toddler to provide support and solidarity".

Sinn Fein MLA Caitriona Ruane also expressed sympathy. She said: "This tragic accident has been felt by the entire community and I would like to extend my condolences to the family," she said.

It is the latest tragedy to affect the same community in two years.

The neighbours of the Grants are relatives of Kathy Dinsmore, who was stabbed to death while on holiday in Turkey in 2011.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa), at least 25 deaths across the UK since 1999 have been blamed on blind cords.

In a stark example of how easily such tragic accidents can happen, the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the UK died last October.

Two-year-old Alexandra Lucy Hoegh was found suspended and unconscious by her mother Dana at their west London home. Her father is Morten Hoegh, a shipping tycoon from Norway.

And in 2011 an 18-month-old toddler strangled himself on the cord of the blind in his bedroom after he awoke from a nap and stood up in his bed to look out of the window.

Rithik Chakrabarti, from Poole in Dorset, got the cord of the Roman window blind wrapped around his neck while his parents thought he was asleep.

His parents, who are both doctors, went to check on the toddler when they wondered why he hadn't woken from his sleep.

Ita McErlean, Rospa's home safety manager in Northern Ireland, has previously spoken of the potential dangers of loop cords.

"Thousands of homes across Northern Ireland could contain a potentially lethal trap for young children who can become entangled in looped cords. Yet it might only take a few minutes to check the blinds and curtains in your home and to make modifications –if necessary."

Rospa's own research indicates that most accidental blind cord deaths happen in a bedroom, involving children aged between 16 and 36 months.

Factfile

• There are more than 250 million blinds in homes throughout the UK and Ireland and every year we install 25 million more

• Since 1999 there have been at least 25 children killed as a result of becoming tangled in blind cords – the trend is rising

• In 2010 alone, six children in the UK died as a result of blind cords

• It can take less than 18 seconds for a child to die, losing consciousness in just two-to-three seconds

Spot the dangers

  • If you can wrap the cord or chain around your hand it poses a risk to children.
  • Install blinds that do not have a cord.
  • Do not place a child’s cot, bed, playpen or highchair near a window.
  • Keep pull cords on curtains and blinds out of reach from children.
  • Tie up cords or fit safety devices available to prevent choking.
  • With looped cords or chains cut the cord or chain to get rid of the loop. Attach a tassel to the end of each strand.
  • Do not hang toys or objects that could be a hazard on a child’s cot or bed.
  • The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has a blind cord safety campaign. For advice, log on to www.rospa.com/homesafety/resources/videos/blind-cords.aspx

23-month-old Caide Hamill

By Claire Harrison

The family of Caide Hamill know only too well the pain of losing a child in a blind cord accident.

The 23-month-old boy from Londonderry was found unconscious at his home in June 2006 after becoming trapped in the cord of a venetian blind in his bedroom.

The toddler was rushed to the Altnagelvin Hospital after his mother found him cold and unresponsive at their home in the Curryneirin Estate, Waterside.

He was declared dead a short time later.

An inquest into the little boy’s death heard that he was put to bed at about 6.30pm on the evening of his death. When his mother Cathleen checked on him at 9.40pm, she found him hanging from the blind’s cord, with his head slumped forward.

A police officer told the inquest it was believed Caide was kneeling on his bed to look out the window when his neck became caught in the loop of the cords.

At the time, Senior Coroner John Leckey warned parents of the potentially fatal dangers posed by blind cords.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph