It Happened Within Seconds


Interview with Connie Warnke (mother)

“They were in their playroom. I had it in their playroom,” said the boys’ mother, Connie Warnke.

Connie Warnke used a safety device — a cord wind-up — to stash away all their Miniblind cords. The point was to protect the boys from strangling.

But there are complaints the device creates a loop and looks like a toy attracting children to it. Others argue it needs a warning — you have to rewind the cord each time you open and close the blinds to keep them out of the reach of children.

Trevor was able to get to the wind-up by climbing on a couch.

“He was on the couch then he hooked this on his neck,” Tyler said. Then he stepped off the couch and was hanging from the cord. That’s when Tyler lifted him to safety.

“If Tyler was not in that room, Trevor never would have made it,” Warnke said.

A re-enactment was done for a consumer product safety commission investigator. A federal safety review on this cord wind-up made by Safety 1st is underway. A company spokesperson says they were unaware of the investigation and have no other complaints.

“We thought we took all the necessary steps we had to make our house safe and its obviously not,” said the boys’ father, Shawn Warnke.

Child safety advocates say cord wind-ups and other cord safety devices do not mean parents can let down their guard. As long as there is a cord, there is an element of danger.

“I was gone for a split second. It happened within seconds,” Connie Warnke said.

“It’s really a false sense of security,” said Nancy Cowles, who heads Kids in Danger, a nonprofit group that works on child product safety issues.

“There’s – from what I’ve seen – no evidence that it would work consistently enough or even all the time so that a parent could trust it,” Cowles said.

“I’m angry. I’m upset. I’m hurt. I’m everything,” Connie Warnke said, but she is also thankful her family escaped tragedy and thankful for a child she calls a hero.