Girl, 2, accidentally hanged herself on cord of window blind in her bedroom

A two-year-old girl accidentally hanged herself in her bedroom while playing with the cord of window blind, an inquest heard today.

Macy Fletcher is feared to have become entangled in the cord after she was last heard singing on her bed.

She was found by her mother Karoline Craig when she went to wake the toddler thinking she was having her regular afternoon nap.

Attempts were made to revive Macy but she died shortly after her arrival at Royal Oldham Hospital in Greater Manchester.

It emerged there had been 30 similar tragedies involving toddlers aged between 16 months and three years.

Today at an inquest the coroner vowed to write to Housing and Communities Secretary James Brokenshire recommending laws surrounding window blinds be toughened up.

The accident occurred on January 9 this year at the family’s rented Victorian terrace in Royton, Oldham after Macy – described as a ”little princess who melted everyone’s hearts” – had come home from nursery.

In a statement her mother said: ”We have a low windowsill in her room because it’s an old terrace house.

“A metal blind fitting was there when we moved there in December 2016 but the blind hadn’t changed at all since we moved in.

“Macy had messed with it and broken the panels so we had removed them. It was just the chord hanging down from it and there was no safety device.

“Macy had come back from nursery and her usual routine was to have lunch then she’d play in her room and would often have a nap

At around 2.30pm I went upstairs to wake her and she seemed to have fallen asleep standing up by the window. Then quickly realised something tragic had happened.”

Det Insp Lindsay Booth told the Heywood inquest: ”I was made aware of the incident by north west ambulance service.

“A young child was in cardiac arrest en route to Oldham hospital in critical condition. Resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful and she tragically died at 15.08pm.

“Uniform police were placed at the hospital and at the home address. Macy had been at nursery that morning. Had come home and had some lunch then went up to her room to play whilst her mum was cleaning downstairs

Her mum came up to waken her from what she thought was a nap so they could do the school run and found her hanging by the blind chord.

CPR attempts were immediately made and she was taken by ambulance to Oldham hospital but she passed away shortly after arriving. There was bruising to her forehead which was explained as possibly being from a struggle when she got caught with the chord.

“Macy’s mum said macy had been playing in her room whilst she cleaned downstairs and said she could hear her singing. It wasn’t unusual for her to have a nap so she thought nothing of it when she went quiet.

“She came in and saw the chord and immediately screamed and called for help from her partner who was downstairs.

“There was a single bed in the corner of the room and a mattress next to it which was there in case Macy fell out of the bed.

“Macy was standing on the mattress which had elevated her up further towards where the cord was. Macy was quite tall for her age and the cord was easily reachable.

“This was a tragic accident and there have been at least 30 deaths in similar circumstances since 1999 – most of which were accidental deaths involving 16 month to 36 month toddlers.

“These youngsters were all mobile but without the muscular development or coordination to get themselves free if they get tangled.”

The inquest was told the blinds were fitted in the house in April 2011.

Under laws introduced in 2014 any new blinds with manual cord control installed into a building where a child between the ages of 0-42 months is likely to have access must be fitted with a cord retainer at least 1.5m from the floor.

But the law does not apply to blinds installed prior to 2014 – although the rules say it is ‘recommended’ that all existing blinds are made safe.

Landlord David Topping who owns the property plus five others with his brother said: “There’s no regulatory body for private landlords that I know of and it would help having a bit of guidance.

“The business side of things is fine but would help to have guidance with regards to safety. After the 2014 regulations I didn’t go back to the properties to check they were all compliant.

“I didn’t actually know about the 2014 regulations until this incident and I didn’t really have any concerns of blind safety before this incident.

“Official regulations for health and safety would be helpful but I know a lot of landlords and it wouldn’t be done if it was just encouraged.

It has to come from government and has to be forced. I’d encourage all landlords to check blinds in their properties are compliant with regulations.

“The blinds in the property have now gone. The new tenants have installed new wooden blinds.”

Recording a verdict of accidental death Coroner Jane Robertson said: “I do have concerns about window blind safety and the concern here is that there is not a regulatory body in place to help landlords in health and safety.

“This is a problem that is more commonplace than it should be, with young people getting caught in blind cords then dying or seriously injuring themselves as a result.

“This is clearly a very tragic case. I appreciate how difficult it has been for everyone here this morning. It is my view that steps should be taken to prevent this sort of thing happening in the future.

“There should be more help and regulations for landlords to show better practice.

“There is no doubt in my mind that had this been in place, and Mr Topping had been informed and encouraged on new regulations he would have followed this guidance.

“I will file a section 28 request and be in contact with the relevant authorities including James Brokenshire to action such improvements.

“This order will aim to assist landlords with improving and maintaining safety features with, encouraging them to check blinds for safety features, especially where young children are living in the property.

“I am so very sorry for your loss. It won’t help in coming to terms with such a loss but please take some comfort in the section 28 order, in the hope that helps stop tragedies like this from happening in the future.

After the hearing Miss Craig said: “Today marks 6 months since we lost our little Princess Macy. She was a happy smiley girl who melted everyone’s hearts.

“Macy had such an infectious smile and her giggle, well, that would have you laughing with her.

“What has happened in this tragic accident we as a family are still trying to come to terms with. Macy will be forever missed and always in our hearts.

“Our hearts are left with a massive hole but Macy will always be in our thoughts. She is deeply missed and loved by all her family. Macy will always be our precious little angel.

“We as a family appreciate people’s support but would now like to be left alone to grieve and process what has happened.”