Expert offers safety tips after 4-year-old in Orem dies in accident involving blinds

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OREM, Utah -- Orem police are investigating what they call a freak accident, after a 4-year-old girl got tangled in the cords of her bedroom mini blinds.

“It’s one of those things where a hundred times you probably couldn’t duplicate what happened,” said Lt. Craig Martinez with the Orem Police Department. “Those two toggles at the bottom, when you wrap them around sometimes they’ll get entangled in each other where one won’t let the other pass. It gets caught up on the other string where it's pulling and kind of cinching it tighter.”

Police said it was Wednesday, April 30, around 5 p.m., when the little girl’s mother found her unconscious and not breathing.

“The mother found her and the neighbor rushed over and started CPR, and they decided to scoop her up and put her in a privately owned vehicle and rush her to the hospital, so when we got there she was already gone,” Martinez said.

Neighbors in the building are rattled from the accident. They said they could hear the mother screaming the day it happened.

“I’m honestly really shocked because that’s not really something you would think to protect your kids from, “ said Nicole Herbert, who lives in the same building.

Janet Brooks, child advocacy manager for Primary Children’s Hospital, said unfortunately it happens more than many realize. On average, in the U.S. a child dies each month from being strangled by the cords attached to mini blinds.

“They’re certainly rare instances that happen but something that we could prepare for better in your homes,” Brooks said.

Brooks advises parents to cut cords short, so they are out of children’s reach. She also said people should keep furniture away from windows. Child-proofing your home goes way beyond cupboards and door knobs.

“Anything that has cords or strings attached to it, even purses: If we are hanging our purses on a door knob and there are young children around, they can stick their head through those purse straps and become entangled,” Brooks said.