Toddler accidentally hanged in window blind cord while mum put kettle on

A two-year-old boy died after accidentally hanging himself from a window blind cord, an inquest has heard.

Cobie Grimshaw had only been left on his own for a couple of minutes while his mother, Lauren, boiled the kettle on the afternoon of April 4 this year.

The toddler had left his mum and grandmother in the kitchen and wandered into the lounge of their home in Looe, Cornwall, where he accidentally became entangled after climbing on top of a sofa.

Ms Grimshaw called 999, and a neighbour who had been alerted by her shouts for help started giving CPR. Paramedics arrived and Cobie was airlifted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth before being transferred later that evening to Bristol Children’s Hospital. But he died three days later, having suffered irreversible brain injuries.

Cornwall Coroner’s Court heard that the accident happened at the home where Cobie lived with his mother and her partner, Tom Moore.

Ms Grimshaw told the inquest that Cobie was her only child and described him as a ‘little fighter’ following a ‘horrendous’ pregnancy in which they both nearly died.

She said: ‘Following his birth, he had no real medical issues and he was a bright, funny, clever little boy and full of energy.’

Ms Grimshaw said they had just finished lunch when her mother, Terri Grimshaw, arrived at the house.

She said: ‘We were all stood in the kitchen and Cobie was giving Mum a massive cuddle. They were stood by the worktop by the kitchen doorway and Mum had Cobie in her arms, cuddling.

‘I was in the opposite end of the kitchen, starting to make drinks. I hadn’t seen or heard Cobie get down from Mum’s cuddle and, when I turned, I saw Cobie wasn’t with Mum and noticed that he was quiet.

‘I just thought he was in the lounge, quietly watching television or playing. I was finishing up making drinks and knew we’d all be in the lounge in a few seconds to wait on Cobie as he’d only been gone from the time I started to make drinks and for the kettle to boil.

‘I went into the lounge and could see Cobie stood upright at the back of the sofa. I just remembered thinking he looked asleep.

‘As I got closer, I could see that the blind cord was around his neck. I immediately took him out of the cord by lifting him at first, and I took the cord from around his neck while shouting for Mum and Tom straight away.’

Ms Grimshaw added: ‘I am absolutely devastated about Cobie’s death and struggle every day. I just want things to be as they were.’

Detective Constable Sharon Reid, who investigated Cobie’s death, said the beaded blind cord was not fixed to the wall.

She said: ‘I reviewed the blind that was there and everything that is required from the 2014 Act (Blind Cord Safety Regulations) was present.

‘The blind cord length, there were the tension fittings, which unfortunately hadn’t been fitted at the wall but they were present with that blind. The relevant safety warnings were also in place.

‘The beaded cord was hanging loose, so he has either climbed on top of the cushions, as I think he used to use it as a trampoline, and become entangled in that cord.

‘There was nothing else relevant other than education around fitting blinds is pertinent in this case.’

Acting senior Cornwall coroner Andrew Cox recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

He said: ‘I am afraid to say, for such a devastating incident, the facts are remarkably straightforward and clear.

‘Cobie was a normal, fit and healthy, boisterous and vigorous two-year-old boy, into everything, clearly accustomed to climbing on to a sofa and using it as a trampoline.

‘On this particular day he has been doing what two-year-old boys do and tragically, while clambering on to the back of the sofa, he has become entangled in the cord which was not fixed to the wall and he become accidentally entrapped and strangled himself.

‘This is truly a tragic set of circumstances and all I can do is offer my condolences to the parents and family of Cobie and I am just desperately sorry.’

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