Sophie Allen, 2, was found hanging from a cord in her bedroom
Inquest hears cord wrapped around her neck while she looked out of bedroom window
Coroner Derek Winter demands more to be done to prevent future deaths
Says millions of families could have deadly blind cords in their homes
A coroner has demanded the government do more to improve the safety of blind cords warning millions of homes could still have deadly blinds after a two-year-old girl was strangled to death.
Sophie Allen suffered brain damage after she was found hanging from the blind cord in her bedroom at her home in Sunderland.
At an inquest into her death, it was heard that the inquisitive toddler, who was playing with her brother, is thought to have climbed on to a storage box to look at her pet rabbits out of the window.
Two-year-old Sophie Allen from Sunderland, who died after she became entangled in a blind cord in her bedroom
Sophie was found in this bedroom at the family’s home in Sunderland after looking out of the window to see her pet rabbits
But the box tipped over and Sophie got her head caught in the noose of the cord and when she slipped, it cut her air supply off.
She was rushed to hospital but despite doctors’ best efforts scans showed there was no activity in the toddler’s brain and her life support machine was switched off.
Now coroner Derek Winter has urged the Government to do more to prevent future deaths.
New safety regulations governing the manufacture of blind cords came into force in February.
But Mr Winter said this would mean there are still millions of potentially deadly blinds in family homes.
He added he plans to use his powers to write to the Government to see if more can be done to prevent future deaths.
Recording a conclusion of accidental death, he explained: ‘I will ask that they reply within 56 days as to what additional measures can be taken to highlight public awareness, so those people who have existing blinds fitted can take immediate action to take away the risk of those blinds, and the regulations that are in place from February are brought to everyone’s attention and the number of deaths from blind cords can be eliminated or almost certainly reduced.
Sophie, pictured with her brother Jayden, right, who she shared a bedroom with, and her baby sister Amelia
At the inquest in Sunderland it was heard that Sophie lived with her parents Peter Allen and Danielle Hudson, along with her siblings Amelia and Jayden, with whom she shared a bedroom.
The hearing was told that Sophie, who would have been three in December, was ‘a very inquisitive child’, and enjoyed looking out of her bedroom window to keep an eye on her pet rabbits.
NEW REGULATIONS ON BLIND CORDS
In February, new safety regulations came into effect covering cords on most types of blinds.
The new rules means that blinds must be ‘safe by design’ and supplied with an appropriate child safety device.
These devices break the cord or chain under pressure or provide the facility to store the cord out of reach.
Detective Inspector Shelly Hudson, from Northumbria Police, said at about 8.30am on April 20, Sophie’s parents heard the two children playing in their bedroom.
Her mother got up to go to the toilet and saw Sophie’s brother was standing on his bed and a storage unit in the bedroom had tipped over.
DI Hudson said: “Sophie’s sibling told his mam that Sophie was stuck, but because she was an inquisitive little girl, she assumed she was hiding.
‘She went quickly to the toilet and went back to the bedroom and as she opened the child gate, she noticed her brother was looking concerned and standing on his bed.
‘She asked him again where she was and he pointed at the storage unit next to the window.
‘She noticed a shadow behind the curtain, moved the curtain to one side and realised Sophie had the blind cord around her neck.’
The frantic mother freed the unconscious toddler and carried her downstairs where they parents tried to perform CPR.
When it did not work they went to a neighbour’s house to call an ambulance as Miss Hudson could not get through on her phone.
At an inquest, Sophie was described as an ‘inquisitive’ child who liked to look out of her bedroom window to keep an eye on her pet rabbits
The two-year-old was treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, pictured, after being transferred from Sunderland Royal Hospital but doctors were unable to save her
Sophie was rushed to Sunderland Royal Hospital before being transferred to a specialist children’s unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.
But despite efforts of medics, her life support machine was switched off in the early hours of April 26.
DI Hudson said that 28 children in the UK have been strangled by looped cords since 1999, with 15 of the deaths in the last four years.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accident (RoSPA) estimates there are more than 200 hundred million unsafe blind cords in the UK.
The charity has handed out more than 50,000 free ‘cleats’, which tie up blind cords, as part of an ongoing safety campaign.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2651357/Coroner-demands-action-inquisitive-two-year-old-girl-strangled-death-blind-cord.html#ixzz342LpkzHo
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