Fourteen years ago my daughter was born into our growing family. My in-laws helped out and put Joe and Tom, our 3-year-old twins, to bed. After a long day in the hospital with my wife, I went home late in the evening. I peeped in to see the twins sleeping and went down for my supper.
Later on my way to bed, I checked the twins again and the little guys were still fast asleep.
While in my slumber, I awakened to the sound of Tom shouting at me from his room, I turned over and ignored him. Tom would not shut up. I got up and stamped my way into their room.
In front of my eyes was my little boy Joe, hanging from the blind cords, a sight I will never forget. A little boy limp with a slightly protruding tongue and blue lips completely still. Hanging.
In complete panic, I pulled him down and laid him on the floor. I gave him CPR and phoned an ambulance. He started to take breaths after a short time but remained still and quiet until the paramedics came.
They put him on oxygen straight away and we rushed him into the hospital. He had an immediate CT scan and had started to come round to something like his own self again.
Mum discharged herself from her hospital early and came in a panic because all she had at that time was bad news and a newborn.
Fortunately, Joe’s story has a happy ending, he ended up with a very angry welt all around his throat and bad memories.
The consultant who dealt with us asked for permission to publish a paper on the accident. This type of strangulation was quite a thing for a child to survive with no lasting damage.
Joe is only alive today because Tom, his twin, was awake and did not stop shouting “Daddy!!!!” until I came in. My son Tom will always be my hero.
As a father, I was left with a vision that has kept me awake regularly over the last fourteen years. A vision that will still wake me crying for years to come has woken me in more tears than any grown person should shed.
My wife and I always made sure the cords were out of reach but that night we did not put the twins to bed. There are no longer deadly cords in our home.
It is a story that you may only read about in magazines or the news. You may think it can never happen to you. We are a very normal family and it happened to us. Please, for the love of your kids, do not have blinds or shades with cords in your home.