Safety law plea after toddler strangled with window blind

A MOTHER whose daughter became entangled in the loop of a window blind and died days before her second birthday called for legislation to improve the safety of such products yesterday.

Speaking at an inquest into the death of her daughter, Madeleine, Linda Whitehead said cords and chains were lethal and should be modified.

The 37-year-old had left Madeleine and her older brother, William, watching television in the conservatory at the family home in Holland Close, Lichfield, Staffs, while she got breakfast ready.

She checked on them regularly and was only alerted to her daughter’s plight when she was joined in the kitchen by her three-year-old son. Giving evidence at Cannock Coroner’s Court, Detective Constable Catherine Buckley said Mrs Whitehead had found Madeleine standing on the sofa against the windows.

Madeleine was taken to hospital in Sutton Coldfield following the incident on April 14 this year and died the same day.

South Staffordshire Coroner Andrew Haigh heard evidence from Staffordshire County Council trading standards officer Brandon Cooke, who conducted a probe following the death.

He said there had been a product recall on all vertical, Venetian and roller blinds in America in November 2000 following reports of 160 such deaths over nine years. A safety device had been added and blinds were no longer produced with loops.

Mr Cooke said the situation in Britain was “fluid” because a new European standard was in the process of being adopted.

The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death by acute asphyxiation.

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