Cords don’t just kill, they severely injure children.

Below you will read a heartbreaking story of a little baby boy who was bright, curious, happy and most of all healthy. As always, PFWBS tells the public to Go Cordless because even with window coverings retrofitted, children can still strangle on the accessible cords.

Billy and Bobby
Billy and Bobby

Bobby’s Story

Bobby was born a very healthy baby on September 7, 2004. He had always been healthy unlike his older brother Billy who was a year older and had always had health and development issues from day one. Prior to Bobby’s injury he was walking, talking and doing everything a normal 13 month-old child should be doing. Bobby was ahead of Billy developmentally.

On the morning of October 11, 2005 my 13 month old son Bobby was severely injured in a window blind cord accident. That morning was not unlike many other mornings. Bobby’s dad and I were working opposite shifts at our local hospital. After his dad left for work the boys and I began our normal daily routine. We changed diapers, got dressed and went to the kitchen to enjoy breakfast together. Like so many other days, after breakfast the boys went to their toy room to play. There were two windows in the toy room that the boys loved to look out. They could see the animals playing in the yard. At the time we were renting a farm house. The kids loved to be in the toy room. On that day, I remember putting the blinds up so that the boys could look out and placed the cord out of their reach. I also didn’t want them to touch the blind slats. We felt that our home was extremely child proofed and that the toy room was completely safe for them to play in. After getting them situated and playing, I told them that I would be back in a few minutes, put up the baby gate and went to the kitchen to wash the dishes. I could hear the two of them playing and laughing as I was only a few feet away in the kitchen.

All of the sudden I hear Billy (who was developmentally delay along with a list of other conditions) standing behind me excitedly saying “momma momma.” (At 2 yrs. old Billy only had about 4 or 5 words). At this time I wasn’t aware of what was happening so I turned around and picked Billy up. I then carried him back to the toy room. As we were walking I said “come on Buddy, let’s get you back to the toy room with your brother.”I arrived back to the baby gate and bent over to put Billy back in the toy room, that’s when I saw Bobby. His tiny body was dangling from the blind cord. My baby had just the front part of his little foot touching the floor. I immediately climbed over the gate, ran to Bobby and attempted to untangle him. As I worked on the cord, I realized that it was wrapped too tightly around his neck. . So I ran to kitchen, grabbed a knife and went back and cut the cord. Once I had him removed from the cord, I started CPR. I frantically called 911, while still preforming CPR. It seemed like an eternity before I finally heard sirens. The first on scene were Charles County Sherriff’s Department, an officer ran over and took over CPR. The fire department and rescue squad followed shortly. When the fire department arrived they ran over to Bobby and carried his lifeless tiny body to an ambulance that had arrived on scene. Once inside the paramedics stated that Bobby’s heart rate was 23. The medics began chest compressions and rushed him to the hospital. In a state of utter shock, I called their dad at the hospital and told him that the baby had coded at home. Frantically I explained to him what was happening. All he heard was that his baby had coded at home. Due to the medical issues that Billy faced, he thought it was Billy. Billy has a history of seizures, he thought that he must have seized and wasn’t coming out of it. Once the paramedics reached the hospital, Bobby’s dad who was an EMT came rushing out and opened the ambulance doors. He was still thinking the child he was working on was Billy and took over bagging the baby. He then rushed the baby into the code room and continued to work on the code.

I was still at our home and the responding police officer transported Billy and I to the hospital. After my arrival I walked into the code room. I remember everyone yelling “watch what you give him, he has seizures”. I kept saying no you have the wrong baby, you have the wrong baby. The amazing staff consisting of doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapist were able to get my precious Bobby intubated and somewhat stabilized. He was still in very critical condition. October 11, 2005 was a very rainy day. At the hospital we learned that due to weather the hospital helicopter was not in service. It was so hard to hear that the transport team that was needed to care for our baby was 3 hours from getting help for him. The medical team said that our baby did not have three hours to wait. At that point one of the local volunteer rescue squads said “We are taking him”. At that moment several members of Bobby’s medical team looked at the director of the emergency room. They stated we don’t care we are going to transport him. They prepared Bobby for the 40 minute ground transport to Children’s. It was not until they wheeled Bobby out of the code room that his dad noticed Bobby’s hair color. It was then he realized which child was in the accident. At that moment, he finally processed what I had told him on the phone.

The ambulance rushed off, full lights and sirens. Bobby was so very critical, he wasn’t expected to make it to children’s hospital. Time was of the essence and they weren’t sure if his little body could withstand this 40 minute transport. His condition was so critical, someone at Children’s Hospital waited by the phone. They feared a call would come that Bobby had passed away in route to the hospital.

Bobby was strong and did make it to Children’s. Once we arrived, doctors came in to prepare us for the worst, the most unimaginable. They told us that he would not survive the night. Our child was placed on full life support. He was in PICU with a special crisis nurse. The nurse was not to leave our babies bedside. We sat by his bedside all night praying. Every time we heard a monitor alarm go off we cringed. It was one of the scariest nights of our lives.

The sun rose the next morning, and our strong son was still here. He is a fighter. He is a survivor.

Bobby spent the 23 days on a ventilator. He was taken off 4 times before he was finally strong enough to stay off. While in PICU we were told that the amount of brain damage was severe. If he did survive, he would have to relearn everything. Due to a window blind cord, my child lost the ability to eat on his own, sit up, stand up, and talk. My child lost the ability to do everything he was once able to do. After leaving PICU, he spent 1 week on regular floor at Children’s Hospital. He was then transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in Baltimore. Bobby remained there for a month of inpatient therapy. We were finally able to bring our baby home 2 months after the accident.

Bobby is still a very sick boy. When we brought him home, he was still on an apnea monitor, cardiac monitor, oxygen and feeding pump. Bobby needed a gtube in his stomach because he would not be able to eat on his own. He also needed a tach for breathing. The doctors told us the child we were taking home was all that we were going to get back. Our child’s injuries had left him severely disabled and that was our new reality. The emotional toll that Bobby endured has also been very evident. Once we came home, if you even looked like you were going to touch him, he would just cry. As a result of this accident, we travel everywhere with his monitors. I spent 6 months sitting on the floor with a syringe dropping formula in his mouth to teach him to eat again. My child still has a long road ahead of him. However, because of his strength, he has already come so far. He continues to amaze us as he has done things long before anyone thought were possible.

My child Bobby medical diagnoses from this window blind accident include Cortical Vision Impairment (legally blind), Cerebral Palsy, and Quadriplegic. Bobby is totally dependent on an adult for his every need. He can still not sit, walk or stand up on his own. A corded window blind totally changed our lives.

Live Safe…Go Cordless!!