SA Coroner issues warning after baby curtain cord tragedy
HELENE SOBOLEWSKI, COURT REPORTER
December 15, 2008 04:05pm
THE hanging death of a toddler has prompted the Coroner to call for more public education on the dangers of curtain cords to infants.
In March last year, the 13-month-old was put to bed by his father.
On re-entering the room 10 to 15 minutes later, the father found the toddler hanging by his neck from the cord attached to a set of window blinds.
The cord was around the toddler's dummy, which was clipped to his clothing.
The father commenced CPR and rang for an ambulance but the child was declared dead after arriving at the Women's and Children's Hospital.
Based upon the "overt compression injury" to the boy's neck and the thickness of the cord, police concluded that he had stood up in his cot and the cord had then become entangled around his neck.
Forensic Pathologist Professor Roger Byard performed a post-mortem examination and found hanging to be the cause of death.
Mr Johns said the toddler's death was an accident and he had "clearly been a much-loved child of the family".
He said the Health Minister and the Consumer Affairs Minister should legislate mandatory safety standards for corded internal window coverings.
A number of publications on the dangers of hanging by curtain blinds or cords have already been made available to the public through organisations such as SIDS and Kids, and Kidsafe.
On Professor Byard's request, Mr Johns said it would be desirable for these publications to be widely distributed and receive government funding.
He said the message should not only go out to parents but to the general community as infants are frequently looked after by grandparents, family members and babysitters.