As parents, we always want to encourage our kids to play and engage with make-believe, but for one mom from West Jordan, Utah, her son's game almost had deadly consequences. According to Arika Hernandez, her son was in his room when he climbed to the top of his bunk bed and wrapped a blind cord around his neck. This terrifying mistake almost led to him strangling to death. Now, the mom is speaking out about the accident in hopes that parents learn from it.
The mom shared in a Facebook post just how close her toddler had come to accidentally killing himself. "Our sweet 3-year-old boy is a survivor. On January 7, our son climbed up to the top bunk bed and wrapped the blind cords around his neck." Then, her son began to walk down the ladder of the bunk bed, which caused the cord to tighten as he went further and further down the steps.
"He panicked and tried to yell for [M]om and [D]ad but nothing came out. He scratched at the cords to loosen them but all he could grab was skin."
Petrified, Hernandez's son jumped to free himself and his quick thinking saved his life. Luckily for the toddler, the blind cord was weak enough that when he jumped from the bunk bed the cord snapped and he was free. "We heard a loud thud (his jump) and then his loud scream!" his mom recounts.
The jump resulted in a bright red bruise around his neck from where the cord had been strangling him and his screams became a painful memory for his mother. "This was not just any scream," she describes in her post, "it is one I have never heard in my life and it will forever be ringing in my ears."
She rushed her son to the emergency room to get checked out after his terrifying accident. At the hospital, doctors were "concerned and shocked" over the boy's escape and said he could've ended up hanging himself. "These blind cords are not meant to break," his mother explains. "We are counting our blessings! God has big plans for our little boy, it was not his time to go."
Now the mom is sharing her story online so that other parents will know how dangerous blind cords can be for young kids—and not just babies.
When Hernandez asked her son why he had wrapped the cord around his neck, he told her it was because he was making a necklace—a startling innocent gesture.
And like many of us, the mother had already warned her children about this danger: "This is something I didn’t think my kids would do because I am constantly nagging them about not putting things around their neck." But unfortunately, "kids will be kids and they explore.".
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child dies from accidental blind cord strangulation almost every month. In another story about a child who was strangled by a blind cord, Kim Dulic, public relations officer for the commission, told CNN that these type of incidents are dangerous because "unconsciousness can happen within 15 seconds and death within two to three minutes."
That makes it difficult for a parent to get to their child before they're injured—even if they're nearby. The report also noted that incidents like these can happen to children as old as 9 years old.
That is why Hernandez decided to spread her story. "Please please please take my message and take action now!! NO CORDED BLINDS ARE SAFE!" she urges.
She also explained that even if you cut the cords on blinds, it's still is a risk because they can't really be cut short to make them safer. "There are still inner cords [inside the top of the blinds] and if the cord is pulled so the blinds go all the way up, that pull cord will then be long enough to make a loop and strangle a child," she wrote. The mom explained that a better option for parents of young children is cordless blinds "and they are worth every penny."
Her message has apparently hit a nerve with many other parents on the Internet. Her post has been shared more than 57,000 times and received more than 20,000 reactions.
She ends her post with a heartfelt plea: "My heart goes out the families that have lost their loved ones this way. I am so sorry for that heartache and can’t imagine the pain you have gone through. Please help me save the next kid and share this message. Most importantly hug the people that mean the most to you. Be grateful you have another beautiful day with them."
This post was originally published on Mom.me sister site CafeMom.