A grieving father has made an emotional plea over the dangers posed by window blind cords following an inquest into the death of his young son.
Daniel Grant, from Mayobridge in Co Down, was just a few weeks away from celebrating his third birthday when his neck became entangled in a beaded cord attached to playroom window blinds last February.
At an inquest hearing in Armagh city yesterday, coroner Jim Kitson heard how a mere 18-second delay in rescuing a child suspended in similar circumstances could prove fatal.
Daniel’s father Brian Grant said parents, grandparents and child-minders all need to check their homes for the treacherous, continuous-loop cords.
“Maybe some good will come from this terrible tragedy if little Daniel’s death raises awareness of how dangerous these blind cords are,” he said.
“People need to check because things like this can happen in an instant.”
Mr Grant was sitting only feet away in an adjacent conservatory, monitoring the playroom through an open door, when Daniel’s sister ran in to tell him of the accident.
Both Mr Grant and his wife Paula attempted to resuscitate their much-loved son but he never regained consciousness.
Paying tribute to Daniel, Mr Grant said: “Daniel was a very caring, well mannered sort of child. Just a perfect, healthy wee boy. A very happy and very helpful child.
“He gave us all so much love and he was everything that we ever wanted in a child.”
Giving evidence, Mr Grant recalled how that Saturday afternoon had been “just a normal day,” with one of his four children out playing rugby, and another asleep in his pram, when tragedy struck.
“We did our best - myself and Paula - we did our best ,our very best. Everything possible was done to save Daniel,” he said.
Thanking Mr Grant for explaining the circumstances, the coroner said: “No father should ever have to give evidence like this.”
Paramedic Aidan Andrews to Mr Kitson how “advanced life support” was carried out on the journey from Mayobridge to Daisy Hill hospital in Newry without success. When asked if there was ever any sign that Daniel’s heart might respond to the defibrillator treatment, Mr Andrews said: “No, there was nothing there.”
Colin Wallace of accident prevention charity RoSPA gave evidence that 27 children across the UK have died in similar circumstances since 1999, with many more “near misses”.
From this month, an EU directive requires new blinds to be manufactured with a “weak link” in the chain to prevent a child becoming suspended.
Following Daniel’s death, some of his organs were donated to save the lives of other children.
See Morning View, page 20