Dads back blind cord safety campaign after death of toddlers

Arthur Winfield
Arthur Winfield

THE families of two toddlers from Herts who died in separate incidents after becoming entangled in blind cords have spoken out in support of a Safe Blinds campaign launched today (Thursday).

Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (HSCB) is campaigning to raise awareness of the dangers of looped blind cords and chains after Arthur Winfield and Emily Warner, both aged two, died in similar accidents.

The campaign is being launched on the day of Emily’s inquest and is also supported by Herts Coroner Edward Thomas.

Arthur died at Great Ormond Street Hospital five days after becoming entangled in a blind cord in his bedroom on January 5.

His father Oli, who lives in Markyate, said: “You always think your home is going to be a safe place especially for your children. We are totally devastated at the loss of our precious boy and urge people to take heed of the safety messages being made available through this campaign.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) reports that there have been at least 18 deaths similar to these in the UK, since 1999.

Emily’s father, Jamie from Royston, said: “We don’t want other families to suffer in the way we have. By taking some simple steps with your blinds you can protect your children. Our family has been broken, Emmie was the light of our lives, such a wonderful little girl.”

Emily was resuscitated after her accident in August last year but suffered significant brain damage and sadly died in December.

Most accidental deaths involving blind cords take place in a bedroom with an average of two children in the UK dying each year in blind cords or chain related accidents.

HSCB Chair Phil Picton said: “We must do everything in our power to reduce the risk of these terrible tragedies being repeated. It doesn’t take much time to ensure that your blind cords and chains are safe. Simply making sure that blind cords are tied up out of reach, even if your child climbs up to try to reach it, could prevent them from being seriously hurt or killed.”

Detective Inspector Joanne Walker from Herts Constabulary’s Child Protection Unit said: “Having seen the emotional devastation these cases have brought to the families of Emily and Arthur, it makes total sense to launch a campaign like this to try and prevent similar tragedies happening in the future.”

County Councillor Richard Roberts, who oversees children’s services, said: “It is hard to imagine the pain that Arthur and Emily’s parents must be experiencing. I am very grateful that they have felt able to come forward and use their own personal tragedies as a warning to others. We want all Hertfordshire’s children to stay safe and by making a few small changes, everyone can help to protect the county’s children from this sort of accident.”

’Make it Safe’ packs are available on request from RoSPA. These include a cleat to tie the cord around and safety information which should reduce the risk of accidents occurring in the home.