Infant died of asphyxia after becoming entangled in blind cord, inquest hears

A 17 month old infant died of asphyxia after he became entangled in a blind cord. The child had been sleeping in a cot next to the window in an upstairs bedroom in a Dublin home.

Infant died of asphyxia after becoming entangled in blind cord, inquest hears

By Louise Roseingrave

A 17-month-old infant died of asphyxia after he became entangled in a blind cord. The child had been sleeping in a cot next to the window in an upstairs bedroom in a Dublin home.

The child was in the care of his grandmother at the time of the accident, shortly before Christmas 2016, an inquest heard.

His parents were working and the child had a usual routine to take a nap at 11am.

His grandmother had read to him and played with him and fed him a snack before placing him in his cot for a nap.

The cot was positioned near a window, next to the blind. The blind remained closed at all times, the court heard and the cord was never in sight. The room was located at the top of the stairs in the house and the child could clearly be heard from different locations within the house, the grandmother said.

She went about chores, cleaning the house and tidying. She conducted a number of checks on the child, listening from the door but not entering the room, she said. The grandmother was ‘listening out for him all the time, ever vigilant,’ throughout the duration of the child's nap, she said.

At 2.40pm she went to wake her grandchild and found him upright in his cot. A cord attached to the lining of the blind was wrapped around his neck. The child was in a grow bag but his face was cold, the court heard. The grandmother disentangled the child and rushed to contact emergency services. She conducted chest compressions on the child until emergency services arrived. The child’s parents arrived shortly after.

The blind was ‘always fully down’ over the window and the cord was completely out of sight, the grandmother told Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane.

“When I went into the room on this occasion the blind wasn’t flat against the window as it normally is,” she said.

The child was in an upright position to the right hand side of the window.

The little boy was pronounced dead at the scene and his parents wrapped him in blankets and sat holding him before he was transferred to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin for a post-mortem examination.

Professor Maureen O’Sullivan conducted the autopsy and gave the cause of death as asphyxia due to a lift cord attached to the rear of a Roman blind.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a narrative verdict setting out the circumstances of the child’s death.

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