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Tragic toddler Arthur hanged himself on window cord while trying to see friend, inquest hears

By David Mercer

Two-year-old Arthur Winfield died after accidentally hanging himself with a window blind cord as he tried to see his friend out of a window, an inquest heard today.

The toddler was left severely brain-damaged after the accident at his home in Markyate, Hertfordshire, in January and died later in London's Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The toddelr was found by his mother Emma after he had gone to his bedroom to collect some toy cars, Hatfield Coroner's Court heard.

It is believed Arthur became entangled with the blind cord after standing on a small stool to try and spot his friend out of his bedroom window, the inquest was told.

Hertfordshire Coroner Edward Thomas recorded a verdict of accidental death and told the family there was nothing more they could have done to save the youngster.

The inquest heard Arthur had been waiting for his friend to arrive at his home on January 5.

His mother Emma went to check on him after he had been upstairs for "a little time" when she discovered her son's seemingly lifeless body, the court was told.

Paramedics were called and Arthur was taken to Luton and Dunstable Hospital. He was later moved to Great Ormond Street Hospital but died as a result of his injuries on January 10.

Mr Thomas said the cause of death was hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy caused by acute asphyxia. He explained that Arthur had died from severe brain injury from oxygen deprivation caused by asphyxiation from a window blind cord.

Arthur was the second toddler to die in the Hertfordshire area in recent months after being accidentally hanged by window blind cords.

Two-year-old Emily Warner was left severely brain damaged after a similar accident at her home last August, and died in December.

The parents of both children are backing a campaign from Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (HSCB) to raise awareness of the danger of blinds.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) says there have been 22 similar deaths in the UK since 1999.

In a written statement, Arthur's father Oliver Winfield said: "We feel very privileged to have had our son Arthur for two years and nine months. 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.

"We would like everyone to know that whilst rare, these blinds can kill and severely brain damage children. Arthur was a healthy, happy and loving boy. We cannot bring Arthur back but we implore you to support the Blind Safety Campaign to prevent future child deaths."

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