Parents of two-year-old toddler Bryan Saba who choked to death on a window-blind cord are urging other moms and dads to check their homes.
Saba was playing in the living room last September when he got entangled in the looped cord of the window blind.
“I was afraid of the stairs, the bathroom and other things like the oven that Bryan could touch. The place we thought was the safest was where my son died,” mother Maria Jose Saba said.
The toddler’s 16-year-old sister, who was babysitting at the time in their family home in Portadown, Ireland found Saba hanging from the cord.
He was taken to hospital but died two weeks later from brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen reaching his brain.
“Children like playing with things, blind cords have little pearl balls that attract the attention of toddlers. We need to make them secure. We don’t want to see another child like Bryan die. It’s enough,” Maria said.
Now, at an inquest into his death, a coroner has issued a warning to parents and caregivers to remove the blind cords from homes in a bid to prevent similar incidents.
“The cords are lethal and silent killers of babies and young children which lurk in homes of parents and carers of young children,” Northern Ireland coroner Joseph McCrisken said.
“As coroner I don’t want to hear another inquest into the death of child as a result of strangulation from a blind cord.”
The court heard that Bryan was living with his father and four of his six siblings at the time of the tragedy.
Bryan’s parents are originally from Guinea-Bissau in West Africa but moved to Italy, then Northern Ireland at the start of 2015 for work.
It is believed that the toddler, who was known for being adventurous and loving to play outside, climbed onto the couch and put his head through the loop.
In Canada, regulations for corded window coverings require manufacturers to attach stop mechanisms meant to prevent the accidental strangulation of children.
After Bryan’s death, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) released guidance for parents and caregivers on blind cord safety:
- Install blinds that do not have a cord, particularly in a child’s bedroom
- Do not place a child’s cot, bed, playpen or highchair near a window
- Pull cords on curtains and blinds should be kept short and kept out of reach
- Tie up the cords or use one of the many cleats, clips or ties that are available
- Do not hang toys or objects that could be a hazard on the cot or bed
- Don’t hang drawstring bags where a small child could get their head through the loop of the drawstring.