This story ends well, but it’s also a lesson learned in why kids and blind cords don’t mix:
For Natalie Blake that horrendous scenario almost had a tragic ending after her three-year-old son Charlie got trapped in a cord for some blinds at their Telford home.
But little Charlie had an unlikely guardian angel looking over him in the form of the family’s pet dog Buster.
The two-year-old American bulldog saw Charlie struggling and the strings wrapped around his neck, and started barking outside Ms Blake’s bedroom door.
Once the alarm was raised, Ms Blake was quickly able to free her son – and today hailed Buster as a hero.
Charlie emerged relatively unscathed, with just red marks around his neck which quickly faded.
Miss Blake said Charlie had awoken in the early hours and made his way downstairs in the family’s home in Ketley.
She said: “It was around 3am and I was asleep. Then I heard Buster barking. The bedroom door was shut and he was outside.
“My first reaction was that there was someone inside the house because he never barks at night.
“I followed him downstairs to where my son was with the cable around his neck.”
She said the family had only had Buster for three months after responding to an online advert to adopt him.
But she said his actions in the early hours of November 1 had helped change the views of friends and family about owning him.
Miss Blake said: “It’s definitely changed family views, I have had a few comments like “why have you got him?” but if I didn’t, who knows what would have happened.”
Hazel Flanigan, Buster’s previous foster carer, said: “If Buster had not alerted Natalie, the little boy would not be here today. This dog is a hero.”
Ms Blake said she had previously owned a German Shepherd, but that Buster was her first dog since Charlie had been born. She said that she had had some reservations about having a dog.
She said: “I do like large dogs but I prefer German Shepherds, but I decided to get Buster and see how they got on.
“He’s a really placid dog, he’s only really lively if we have visitors, at night he normally just sleeps.”
She added: “Charlie loves him. He was scared of dogs but thanks to contact with another family dog and Buster he has got used to them.
“He’s now back to his normal self, though I obviously told him off.”
Blind cord safety tips:
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) has put together a leaflet to advise parents on keeping their children safe around looped blind cords and chains. Their top tips are:
Make sure chains and cords are always secured and out of reach
Do not place your child’s cot, bed, highchair or playpen near to a window blind
Do not put sofas, chairs, table, shelves or bookcases near to a window blind, as children love to climb
Invest in a safety device for your cables, such as a cleat to tie the cable around, a cord or chain tidy or a chain-break connector, which will split when extra pressure is applied to the chain
When choosing new blinds for homes or places where children or vulnerable people live or visit always look for a blind that has no cords, such as wand operated, gear operated or spring operated blinds, or blinds which have concealed cords