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In Wake Of Accident, Peoria Coroner Warns Parents Of Dangers In Homes

210518 Jamie Harwood photo.jpg
Tim Shelley
Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood speaks at the health department's weekly COVID-19 briefing, Nov. 5, 2020.

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said Tuesday parents need to be aware of the danger window blind cords and other items around the house pose to young children.

“We just have to be able to know where our children are at all times,” said Harwood. “Even the slightest distractions away from our kids can cause the most catastrophic accidents.”

The coroner’s warning comes following Saturday’s death of an 18-month-old Peoria girl who became entangled in blind cords. Harwood wants parents to take steps to prevent similar accidents.

“The best solution is to have mini-blinds in your house that don't come with the associated cord to raise and lower the blind,” said Harwood, who ruled the Saturday incident as accidental. “Now, if you if that's what you have, that's what you have. The best thing that you can do is keep the anchor to the string high, and high out of reach so even if a toddler is on a chair, it’s where they can't reach that to undo the cord from the anchor.”

Harwood said toddlers – children between ages 1 to 4 – aren’t fully able to realize when something may be dangerous.

“A 2-year-old or a 3-year-old can push a chair over there and climb up on the chair and mess with that string and they have no idea what they're playing with or what they're doing,” he said. “They see Mom with a necklace on and they want to wear a necklace. That string could look like a necklace to them, and they just don't have the cognition to decipher whether this is a bad thing to do or a good thing to do. So the height of that string, and the availability of that string is going to be so incredibly important.”

Harwood said dangers exist everywhere around the house and parents must remain alert and protective.

“I've seen stories, and we've actually had one case where a mom left the bathroom for just a few moments to go grab her telephone, and she comes back to the bathroom and her infant was submerged in the water. Things like that happen so incredibly quickly.

“Very, very simple things: A child playing outside on a bike or a tricycle that can easily go into the road; swimming pool accidents are really a big concern; children on bicycles not wearing helmets; things like this with the mini-blinds that’s a freak accident. We just have to pay attention to our children because that's so fast and it can happen to anyone.”

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