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My Daughter Was Killed By a Window Cord

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Linda Kaiser lost her daughter in 2002.

Linda and Cheyenne

We were shocked when we heard the news this morning that a 2-year-old boy had died when he got tangled up in the cord of Venetian blind this past Friday. We talked to mom-of-three Linda Kaiser, who lost her own daughter to a cord accident, for her perspective.

momlogic: Describe your life prior to the cord accident.

Linda Kaiser: On May 25th, 2001, I gave birth to my twins, Seth and Cheyenne. My husband and I babyproofed our house. We put locks on the cabinets, made sure all the safety plugs were in and we made sure the window cords were high out of reach. I did everything I thought a parent should do. I thought what was listed in the parenting magazines was just common knowledge, and I felt I was doing all the right things.

ml: Can you please take us through what happened to Cheyenne?

LK: On June 12th, 2002, it was a summer's night. I put the twins down at 7:30 PM. They usually played together in their crib and fell asleep. I put my ear to the door and didn't hear anything. I thought they were sleeping, so I continued to turn the house down for the night. My husband, my daughter Maddie and I were sitting in the living room talking, and before putting Maddie to bed, we all went into the twins' room to check on them and watch them sleep (as we did every night).

Suddenly, I saw my daughter, Cheyenne, in the corner of the crib in an unnatural position. She was sitting up with her head down. I grabbed her and saw the window cord around her neck. I called 911 and did CPR. It was too late -- she had been gone for a while. She died, and our world came crashing down all around us. Cheyenne died just 18 days after her first birthday.

ml: How did Cheyenne reach the cord?

LK: I didn't understand how she got the cord, because I tied them up. She must have grabbed the cord in between the flaps of the blinds and formed a loop out of it. That loop went around her neck and she strangled that way. At first, the police didn't believe me, and they were very suspicious because they didn't understand it. The police interrogated me and it wasn't until about two weeks later [that] a friend sat me down and showed me exactly what had happened.

ml: As a mother grieving the loss of your daughter, what gave you the strength to turn your tragedy into triumph by starting your organization?

LK: A friend made a memorial website for our daughter, and a lot of people contacted me through it. Within two months, three moms contacted me who had also lost their children. I realized it wasn't a freak accident, and cord accidents happened more than I thought. Then a retired N.Y. firefighter contacted me and said since about 1991, there were over 300 kids who died and that it happened every two weeks. I realized I needed to do something. I didn't want another parent to go through what I did after losing my daughter. There was a need to understand how dangerous these cords are. In 2002, my husband and I founded "Parents for Window Blind Safety."

ml: What is your advice to moms?

LK: Every parent should go cordless on whatever they can in their home, be it the window coverings or electronic appliances like the computer, phone, etc. Parents need to know that any cord longer than 7 ¼ inches can strangle a child.

Ninety-two children have died since 2000 from window-cord strangulation. Most of them [strangled] on window-covering products manufactured after 2001, meaning these cords had safety tassels. But just one string with a safety tassel can still strangle around a child's neck. I would tell parents to be mindful of what's in their home, check that wires and cords are secured and not hanging and make sure all cords are out of your children's reach.

next: My Kids Are Sick and I'm Loving It
2 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous March 22, 2010, 3:32 PM

Blinds ARE NOT a good idea in a kid’s room

Sarah March 22, 2010, 10:48 PM

This sends chills down my spine as just the other day my son who turns 3 in a couple of weeks almost hung himself on the blinds cord in the short amount of time it took me to walk from one end of the house to the other. I was lucky he managed to call out and I heard him but I shudder to think what would have happened if I didn’t hear him.

In Australia it is now law that all blinds have child safe fixings on them but those already installed before the law came into place are still death traps with no requirement to change them.

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