‘Ban blinds with cords’ plea from Saba family

The Saba family from left, Feliciano, Alessia (6) and Maria. INPT37-212.
The Saba family from left, Feliciano, Alessia (6) and Maria. INPT37-212.

The family of a toddler who lost his life after choking on a blind cord a year ago this month have issued a plea to manufacturers and shops to stop making and selling blinds with cords.

Speaking in the week of her son’s first anniversary, Maria Jose Saba said such blinds have to be outlawed “for the good of our children”.

Although she and her husband have been campaigning since the tragic accident, and have already succeeded in raising awareness, they believe more can be done and want to see an end to all blinds with cords.

Their son Bryan (2) died in hospital two weeks after the accident which occurred on September 11 in the living room of his Portadown home.

The toddler had been left alone for just a few minutes and it is believed he may have climbed on to a sofa before becoming entangled.

Said Maria Jose, “During the time of our pain and sorrow lots of people have said to me, ‘This is your destiny and God meant it to be like this’. I believe in destiny and I firmly believe in God but I don’t believe that God would want any child to suffer.

“When something like this happens, God receives your child because that child is his and he doesn’t abandon them but I don’t think that what happened to Bryan is anything to do with God - it is to do with the negligence of man.”

Her husband said the family had been given hope by the coroner’s findings in May. Coroner Joe McCrisken labelled looped blind cords “silent killers” and urged parents and grandparents to scour their homes for them. He also sent a letter outlining his concerns to the Health Minister.

Mr Saba said the awareness momentum needs to continue until a new law is introduced banning the cords.

Since Bryan’s death, the Saba family, with the help of Portadown-based Community Intercultural Programme (CIP), have launched the Blind Truth DVD, which tells Bryan’s story and alerts the public to the danger, and cleats available to secure cords.

Hetty Smith, of CIP, said the Southern Health Trust has now included a section on looped blinds in its Birth to Five Years booklet, given out to all new mums

As well as that, landlords across Northern Ireland were also sent a letter asking them to check the blinds in any homes they are responsible for letting out.

Maria has also revealed that she intends to organise a fundraising event in Bryan’s memory, for a children’s hospital in Guinea Bissau.