Coroner calls for action after girl’s blinds death

TRAGIC ... two-year-old Sophie Allen, who was found hanging from her window blind cord.
TRAGIC ... two-year-old Sophie Allen, who was found hanging from her window blind cord.

A CORONER is calling for action to stop youngsters being killed by window blind cords.

Sunderland coroner Derek Winter spoke out at an inquest into the death of Sophie Allen, a two-year-old killed by a tragic mishap with blinds at her home in the city.

The youngster died after she was found hanging from a blind cord in a bedroom.

A hearing into her death heard the toddler was rushed to Sunderland Royal Hospital, before being transferred to a specialist children’s unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Despite the best efforts of medical staff, scans showed there was no activity in the toddler’s brain and her life support machine was switched off in the early hours of April 26.

Sophie lived with parents Peter Allen and Danielle Hudson and siblings Jayden and Amelia in Ramillies Road, Redhouse.

Detective Inspector Shelly Hudson told the inquest that Sophie was “a very inquisitive child” and enjoyed looking out of her bedroom window to keep an eye on her pet rabbits.

At about 8.30am on April 20, Ms Hudson saw Sophie’s brother standing on his bed and noticed that a storage unit in the bedroom had tipped over.

Det Insp Hudson said: “Sophie’s sibling told his mother that Sophie was stuck but, because she was an inquisitive little girl, she assumed she was hiding.

“She later went back to the bedroom and, as she opened the child gate, noticed her brother was looking concerned and standing on his bed.

“She asked him again where Sophie was, and he pointed at the storage unit next to the window.

“She noticed a shadow behind the curtain, moved the curtain to one side and realised Sophie had the blind cord around her neck.”

The unconscious toddler was freed and carried downstairs, where her parents tried to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation while calling an ambulance.

The detective said 28 children in the UK have been strangled by looped cords since 1999, and 15 of those deaths have been in the last four years.

New safety regulations governing the manufacture of blind cords came into force in February 2014.

But Mr Winter said that would leave “millions” of potentially-deadly blinds in family homes, and he intends to write to Government chiefs to see if more can be done to prevent future fatalities.

He said: “I will ask what additional measures can be taken to highlight public awareness, so those people who have existing blinds fitted can take immediate action to take away the risk and that the regulations that are now in place are brought to everyone’s attention.”

A conclusion of accidental death was recorded.

Twitter: @shieldsgazette