Toddler who choked on blind cord in Markyate was watching for friend

Arthur Winfield
Arthur Winfield

A TODDLER who strangled himself on a blind cord was probably looking out of the window to see his friend arrive to play, an inquest heard.

Herts Coroner’s Court was told two-year-old Arthur Winfield, of Summer Walk in Markyate, was waiting to play with his toy cars and had moved a little stool near the window of his bedroom on January 5.

Coroner Edward Thomas told his parents: “He went up to his bedroom to collect some more cars for the garage because his friend was coming.

“Because it had been a little time you thought you had better go upstairs and see how he was. You thought he might have been having a rest.

“When you opened the door you realised something was very wrong. You saw the blind cord around his neck. You lifted him up and took him off.

“Everything you did was exactly correct. There was nothing further you could’ve done differently.

“It was thought most probably Arthur had been looking out of the window for his friend. There was a little stool there. It was thought he might have stood on it to see outside.”

Paramedics arrived and carried on attempts to resuscitate Arthur and he was taken first to Luton and Dunstable Hospital, where he was put into intensive care, and then transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

But despite the best efforts of medical staff he died five days later on January 10.

The cause of death was oxygen deprivation because of asphyxiation from the blind cord.

Mr Thomas, recording a verdict of accidental death, said: “Arthur came from an exceptionally caring family and he was extremely well looked after. He was a very happy boy.”

After the hearing Arthur’s father Oliver reiterated his support for a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of blind cords, which have killed 22 youngsters in the UK since 1999.

He 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. 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 and over, asking ourselves: What if?

“We know the law is changing and basically looped cord blinds will not be saleable from some point this year. We bought our blackout blinds in 2009 to protect our then baby boy from the hot summer that year. We would like everyone to know that while rare, these blinds can kill and severely brain damage children.

“Looped blinds and curtain pulls are already in thousands of houses, communal halls, doctors’ surgeries and other public buildings.

“Please, please make these safe using cleats or replace them with newer, safer models, even if you don’t have children, children may visit you or you may sell your house to a family with 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.”