Baby girl dies in 'blind cord' accident in Co Down
A Co Down family has been plunged into mourning after a baby girl died in what is believed to have been a tragic blind cord accident.
The 21-month-old was pronounced dead at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald.
It has been reported that the child died after becoming entangled in a blind cord at her home.
But these reports have not been confirmed.
The tragedy occurred in the Newtownards area yesterday morning.
Detective Inspector Harry Colgan said: "At approximately 11.45am on November 19, police received a report of the death of a 21-month-old baby girl.
"The death is not being treated as suspicious at this stage and a post-mortem will be carried out in due course."
The Coroner's Court has confirmed it is investigating the death and enquiries are "on-going".
Ita McErlean, home safety manager with the Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents NI, in response to reports that a third child in Northern Ireland has accidentally died after being entangled in a blind cord accident has urged all adults looking after toddlers to ensure that
“It’s heartbreaking to think that another child has lost its life in this way and our sympathies go out to the family.
"We hear that one to two children can die like this each year in the UK and there are many more near misses that mostly go unreported.
"We want to raise awareness amongst parents, grandparents or anyone who looks after children in the 16 -30 month age group which appears to be the age group of children who are most at risk.
"We are finding out that the loop of the blind cord that hangs at waist height for adults could actually slip around the neck of a young children or those babies who are beginning to crawl the can become wrapped in floor length cords.
"We would say to all adults, go into your home, check what blinds you have on your windows, what shape of blind and cords that are hanging down. Use either a cleat, a little butterfly winged attachment to wound up the cord but now there’s a more sturdy attachment called the p clip which is fitted to the inside of the window and tightly wraps the cord up.
"New blinds are covered by improved safety European legislation that came into force earlier this year, which have been rigorously tested and would have a chain break connector where the chain will break if any pressure is applied. However many homes have blinds fitted before this.”
She identified that the most common place for this type of accident to occur was the bedroom, although it had not yet been confirmed that this is the case in the death of the 21-month-old girl and advised adults to move cots or playpens away from the windows where possible.
Mayor of Ards Philip Smith said it was a "tragic accident" and offered his sincere sympathy.
He said: "We offer our heartfelt sympathies on behalf of the Ards Borough Council at this painful time.
"There are no words that can bring any comfort to the family but we would like to say to the family that they are in the prayers and thoughts of the whole Ards community.
"Anything that we can do to assist or support them we will certainly do in the days ahead."