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My Emmie was strangled by her bedroom blind cord …please don’t let your child be next
Grieving dad’s warning to parents
ANOTHER family are having to come to terms with the unimaginable agony of
their child being strangled to death by window blind cords.
The Sun told this week how toddler Josh Wakeham, 22 months, was found
entangled by his horrified mother.
News of Josh’s death brought back awful memories for Jamie Warner, whose own
two-year-old daughter Emily was strangled by a blind cord last year.
In the past two years, 11 children have died in this devastating manner, with
the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) saying an average
of two kids die this way in the UK each year.
But millions of parents are unaware of the danger — or the fact a simple
plastic device costing a couple of quid can save a child’s life.
Jamie and wife Tracey are now determined that the death of Emily — or Emmie as
she was known to the family — will not be in vain.
Jamie said: “The death of Josh highlights again just how important the blind
cord safety campaign is.
“Parents need to know the dangers and take action. Children are too precious
to be lost in this way.”
Jamie revealed how he sometimes suffers flashbacks of the moment he found
Emmie strangled in the cord.
Wringing his hands, his voice breaking with emotion, Jamie said: “Those
flashbacks are awful. Seeing her face, realising what had happened, the
awful panic, hearing myself screaming for help.”
Little Emmie managed to hang herself with the cord less than five minutes
after being put to bed. She was resuscitated by paramedics but suffered
severe brain damage and died three months later.
Jamie and Tracey, who also have a son James, aged five, are now determined to
highlight the dangers of blind cords to other parents.
This week they appeared on ITV’s This Morning where they spoke about their
An emotional Tracey, 39, said: “We want something good to come out of this. We
don’t want other people to suffer like we have.”
At the family home in Royston, Herts, Jamie, 30, who works at a local
synthetics company, revealed: “We’d had the vertical blinds installed when
we first moved into the house. When we had the children we never gave them a
“We baby-proofed the house by putting covers on electric sockets, that kind of
thing, but we never saw, or heard, any warnings about blind cords being
Recalling the night of the accident on August 25 last year, Jamie explained
how he had put Emmie to bed in her own room at around 6pm.
He said: “James had been naughty so I put him to bed early.
“I read Emmie a story, kissed her goodnight and went downstairs at about
“I could hear Emmie talking and reading to herself. Then she went quiet. But
James kicked the wall so I went up to tell him off.
“I looked in on Emmie at about 6.20pm and saw her standing on her bed. Her
body was behind the curtain which was in front of the blind. All I could see
were her legs.
“I thought she was looking out of the window. I told her to get down, but she
“So I pulled the curtain back — and that’s when I saw her.”
Struggling to contain his emotions, Jamie went on: “Her lips were blue and I
realised she had the blind cord tangled round her neck.
“I think she had been trying to crawl along the window sill to get to her
wardrobe. Just before the accident we had taken a chest of drawers out of
her room because she had started using them as a ladder to get on the
“I think as she went along the sill, the cord caught round her neck and pulled
her back, strangling her.
“I got it off and ran downstairs shouting to Tracey to get an ambulance. I’m
trained in first aid so I started CPR.
“I was talking to Emmie, telling her how much we loved her.
“I don’t remember a lot of that moment. I just remember the paramedics coming
and when they told me they had found a heartbeat I collapsed and someone
Emmie was rushed to hospital where she was put into a medically-induced coma.
An initial brain scan had appeared to show no damage but then medics broke the
awful news that Emmie had in fact suffered moderate to severe brain damage.
Jamie said: “They said she would never walk, talk or be able to feed herself.
But we were just glad she was alive. We just wanted our Emmie back. When she
did come round she seemed to recognise everyone. We were told it would take
months but she would eventually come home with us and would have some
quality of life.”
For three months, Emmie did really well at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in
Jamie and Tracey spent all the time they could with their daughter, and son
James would often come in to see his sister too.
Emmie did so well she was transferred to Tadworth Court children’s hospital,
Surrey, where she was due to carry on her rehabilitation. But a gastric tube
she had fitted started to leak causing an infection. Jamie said: “She wasn’t
getting her medicines or her food. So she was taken back to Addenbrooke’s.
“We thought it would be a question of getting the problem fixed and she would
But on December 1 last year the couple were called by the hospital at 6.15am
and told to get there immediately. Wiping away tears, Jamie recalled: “We
thought she’d just got another bug but when we got there we were told she
I just couldn’t believe it. It seemed so cruel — we had got her back then
she was taken away again.”
Emmie was buried wearing a pretty dress and with her favourite Cabbage Patch
There are photos of Emmie and some of her drawings on the walls of the family
home. Jamie said: “I like to have her things and photos of her around, but
Tracey finds it hard. Emmie was a mummy’s girl and Tracey is struggling a
lot more than me.
“It’s hard to deal with the fact that we are now a family of three.”
Last week a coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death on Emmie. Her
parents are now drawing solace by joining RoSPA’s Make It Safe campaign.
They are calling for changes to blind cords to be introduced Europe-wide.
Jamie said: “There are millions of these blinds in Britain.
“People have no idea of their dangers. Please, please, if you have kids be
aware. Check the cord, keep it out of the way.
“You can buy cheap, plastic cleats on the internet costing a couple of quid
which will keep the cord safe.
“Before Emmie died we had no idea how many other children had been killed in
the same way.
“If we had, we would never, ever have had the blinds there.”
11 die in 2 years
JOSH WAKEHAM was the latest child to die having been strangled by a blind cord.
The 22-month-old was found on his bed by mum Tracey on January 24 in Newport,
Toddler Caden Laine, 21 months, became entangled in March 2011 in Plymouth,
Devon, after mum Danielle left him for two minutes.
In October 2010, 17-month-old Leah Edwards was strangled in Maldon, Essex, as
her twin brother lay next to her.
To be Kid-Safe, it’s really simple. Fit a Cordaway Blind Cord Safety Device and ensure real safety for your family.