A postman has urged parents to think about loose hanging blind cords following a heart-stopping moment this week.
Newry, Mourne and Down Independent councillor, Mark Gibbons – who works for Royal Mail – shared his experience in a bid to raise awareness of an issue that has killed at least 35 toddlers in the UK since 2001.
“Whilst delivering post in the Warrenpoint area I came to a house and spotted a young boy waving at me through his living room window,” Councillor Gibbons recalled.
“He must have been around three or four at the very most and had a great big smile on his face. Obviously happy to see a rookie postman come to his door.
“As I gave him a wee wave and thought of my own four-year-old daughter, and the craic they would probably have together, I noticed that he must have been standing on the window sill to get up to that height.
“Then my heart completely sank as I realised that the curtain cord was loosely hanging around his neck.”
Councillor Gibbons was at pains not to “over-dramatise the situation” as the child was in no distress and the cord wasn’t tight in any way, however, he knew he had to act.
“I actually banged on the door,” he said. “With one eye on the boy and the other looking through the glass down the hallway, I could see a parent coming to the door. I explained all.
“The parent immediately ran to the living room window and the beautiful wee lad was quickly taken off the window sill, much to his disappointment, yet oblivious to the potential danger.
“I apologised to the parent for knocking the door, but that I had a child of my own and I couldn’t live with myself if I just walked away.”
Councillor Gibbons said he wanted to share this experience, especially in his role as a local representative, in the hope that it might make a difference and raise awareness.
There have been at least 35 toddler deaths connected to blind cords since 2001, according to figures from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
A RoSPA spokesman said: “Blinds might look harmless enough, but to a young child the looped cords can be deadly if they get them caught around their neck.
“Most accidental deaths involving blind cords happen in the bedroom and occur in children aged between 16 months and 36 months, with the majority happening at around 23 months.”