Tragic toddler’s living room ‘was a death trap’

Maria Jose and Feliciano Saba with the DVD and safety leaflet
Maria Jose and Feliciano Saba with the DVD and safety leaflet

The parents of a Portadown toddler who was strangled by a blind cord have helped make a poignant video about their son’s death in a bid to prevent further tragedies.

Feliciano and Maria Jose Saba were determined to speak out after the accident in October in which their youngest child Bryan died.

The couple, who attended the launch of the film at Craigavon Civic Centre this week, were praised for their “tremendous courage” in talking about their ordeal.

The video will be used as an educational tool by the Southern Health Trust.

In the moving interview, Bryan’s parents recall how their son was found hanging from the living room blind cord by his sister.

The loving and lively child, who would have turned three last Sunday, spent two weeks in intensive care, but never regained consciousness.

His father said the family would never have imagined their living room could be a “death trap”, while his mother described blind cords as a “silent killer”.

In the interview, Maria Jose, wiping away tears, recalls how her “sweet and caring child” used to wait for her coming home from work, so she could bring him outside.

“He always wanted to be free, to jump and to play,” she said.

She relates how her son was left alone for a few seconds in the living room while his older sister went into the kitchen.

“She heard nothing,” Maria Jose said. “I was afraid of the stairs, the bathroom and the oven, but the place I thought was the safest was where our son died.

“We didn’t know of the danger of blind cords. We are trying to speak to people and inform them of the silent killer in our homes.”

Data from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents indicates that 31 children have died as a result of blind cord accidents in the UK between 1999-2015.

Nina Daly, from the Southern Health Trust, said: “If a child’s neck gets entangled in a cord even for a few seconds they can be left permanently brain damaged or die.”

She said the video will be a lasting legacy to Bryan Saba and form part of the trust’s ongoing efforts to address blind cord accidents.