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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019
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Cork toddler who died in tragic Roman blind accident 'died instantly without any suffering'

Leah Troy was just 13 months when she died last September.

Parents are being urged to be aware of the dangers of cords ending in a loop. (File photo)
Parents are being urged to be aware of the dangers of cords ending in a loop. (File photo)
Image: Shutterstock.

A TODDLER DIED after a tragic accident involving a Roman blind which was given to the young parents as a handmade gift when they moved in to their new house.

Leah Troy, who was just 13 months, passed away at her home in Delaney Park in Dublin Hill on the northside of Cork City on 11 September, 2018.

She died after getting caught in a blind string in her bedroom when she was put down for a nap.

Her mother Alice O’Sullivan (28) said she was at the house with baby Leah and her four-year-old son Alex who was home sick that day. Leah had played downstairs that day and at 11.45 am she put her in her travel cot between her bed and the window for a nap.

All was quiet upstairs so Alice thought that baby Leah was sleeping. When she went up to check on her a short time later she found Leah almost in a kneeling position. Her head was upright with the string around her neck.

Alice tried to remove the string of the blind from the head of the child.

“She was just staring out the window, she was almost in a kneeling position, almost standing. I tried to remove the string around her neck. I tried to snap it but I couldn’t and had to pull the cord from both sides. ”

Alice said that her son Alex came upstairs and she told him to go back down.

“I didn’t want him to see it. I dialled 999. I placed her in the front room of the house. I started CPR. I listened to the instructions on the phone. ”

Ms O’Sullivan said the paramedics worked to save Leah. However, she was pronounced dead at Cork University Hospital (CUH). She said her step mother Jude made the Roman blind as a gift for her and her partner Mike.

She made (the blind) herself. We hung it with her. We were concerned about the cord so we put the safety cleat up higher than usual so it would be out of the way of the children. I know our stepmother blames herself about what happened. There are so many ifs and buts.

She added that her “beautiful girl” was never sick and had no medical problems.

“She was just my gorgeous baby girl. She was beautiful, always up to mischief, never sick.”

Safety conscious

The family were very conscious of safety when they put up the blind. The blind had a safety cleat for the main draw cord. The blinds also had support strings to the rear of the blinds.

It was one of the three support strings that the young child got entangled with when she was in her bedroom.

Alice O’Sullivan’s stepmother Jude Hogan O’Sullivan said she had known her step daughter since she was just three years old.

Alice and her partner Michael had just moved in to their home and she was asked to make the blinds. She had previously made blinds for other family members.

Alice and Jude shopped for material for the blinds and they were joined by the father of the baby Michael Troy when they went to put them up. A drill was required to install them.

Jude said that she could never have conceived that when the blind was closed, the baby could get caught in the vertical support cords at the back.

If I did not make this blind Leah would be alive. I feel such guilt. I want to say again I am so sorry. When I learned what had happened my world fell apart. I know I told Alice and Mike before, but I want to say again, I am sorry.

She described Leah and her partner Michael Troy as wonderful devoted parents to the two youngsters.

Instant blackout

Garda Grace Quirke told the inquest that baby Leah was pronounced dead at 1.30pm on the 11 September 2018 at CUH. She was formally identified in the city morgue by her family.

Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster, said Leah would have died instantly without any suffering.

The cause of death was recorded as acute cardio arrest due to ligature strangulation. Essentially Leah would have had an instant blackout.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded in the case. The jury asked the media to highlight the case to assist other families.

Coroner Philip Comyn said that it was one of the most distressing inquests he had presided over in a very long time and that there was “very little solace he could give the family.”

He extended his condolences to the family saying it was “a complete accident”

There is very little solace I can give you other than the evidence of Dr Bolster that your daughter wouldn’t have suffered. She would have blacked out immediately.

 Comyn asked the large group of media assembled to highlight the case pointing to advice about blinds which is on the National Standards Authority of Ireland website.

A number of children have died following accidents involving blinds in recent years.

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About the author:

Olivia Kelleher

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