Parents warned about blind cords after tragic death of 'gorgeous baby girl' in Cork city

Parents warned about blind cords after tragic death of 'gorgeous baby girl' in Cork city
Alice O’Sullivan, mother of the late Leah Troy pictured at Cork Coroners Court. The 13-month-old girl died when she suffocated after becoming entangled in a window blind cord at her home in Cork city in 2018.

A 13-month-old baby, described as a gorgeous baby girl, died when she was strangled by a cord of a blind which had been gifted to her family by her step-grandmother.

An inquest into the death of baby Leah Troy, from 17 Delaney Park in Dublin Hill, at Cork City Coroner’s Court today heard she died after being put down for a nap by her mother Alice in a travel cot near a window in an upstairs bedroom.

She went back downstairs where her four-year-old son Alex was resting.

He was at home from school because he was unwell.

When checking on the baby later, Alice discovered Leah had a cord from the window blind around her neck. 

She was almost in a kneeling position and her head was upright. 

She appeared to be looking out the window of the room. 

Alice tried to remove the cord and in her statement to gardaí after the incident, Alice said: “I had to use force.” 

She picked up her daughter and took her downstairs, where she called the emergency services.

She attempted CPR while listening to instructions on the phone from the ambulance service. 

Paramedics arrived at the scene. 

She was rushed to Cork University Hospital at 12.42pm with a garda escort, where Alice’s partner Michael Troy arrived from work. 

Both parents were with her when Leah was pronounced dead at 1.30pm. The incident happened on September 11 last year.

The court heard the family had only recently moved into the house and Alice’s step-grandmother had made the blinds for the house. 

The blinds were only up about a week before the accident happened.

In Alice’s statement to gardaí, she said that she knows that her stepmother blames herself for what happened. 

But she said steps had been taken to ensure that the side cord was up high on the window. However, it was a cord at the back of the blind which Leah became entangled in.

She said that Leah was “a beautiful girl, always up to mischief” who was never sick and had no medical problems.

“She was just my gorgeous baby girl.” 

In her statement to gardaí, Alice's stepmother, Jude Hogan O’Sullivan, said she was delighted when she was asked by Alice and Michael to make the blinds for their home.

She said: “When I learned what had happened, my world fell apart. If I didn’t make that blind, Leah would still be alive. I feel such guilt.” 

She added that she wanted to say again that she was sorry.

At the end of the inquest, Alice turned to her stepmother and hugged her tightly.

In her evidence to the court, pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster said that death was due to cardiorespiratory arrest due to ligature strangulation. 

She said she would have blacked out immediately and would not have suffered.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death. 

Afterwards, their foreman recommended that the case be covered by the media to make other parents aware.

Addressing the family of the toddler, coroner Philip Comyn said it was one of the most difficult inquests he had heard in a long time. 

He added: “I have found it very distressing. I can only imagine the anguish the family are going through.” 

He continued: “This was a complete accident and there is very little solace I can give you.” 

He said Leah would have blacked out immediately and “would not have suffered at all.” 

He asked the media to highlight the National Safety Authority of Ireland’s guidelines on blinds at www.nsai.ie/about/news/standards-to-protect-children-from-window-blind-cords.

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