Impossible not to blame myself for tragedy
MUM Amanda O'Halloran says it has been impossible not to blame herself for a freak incident in which her 17-month-old daughter strangled herself on a blind cord.
Toddler Sophia was playing at the family home, in Tirley, when she got her neck caught in the beaded loop and fell over. She died in seconds while her mum popped to the loo.
Amanda said despite being plagued with guilt, she knew what happened to Sophia could have happened to anyone of that age.
Now through Sophia's Cause, she and her partner Chris Parslow are campaigning to get looped cord blinds banned across the UK – as well as urging parents to use cordless blinds.
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Amanda, 22, said: "Of course I blamed myself for what happened to start with. But every parent, if they are being honest, will tell you that it is impossible to keep an eye on their child every minute of the day. Everyone has to go to the toilet at some point.
"I know that by speaking out about my story I am risking some people criticising me as a bad mum. But I know that I wasn't. Sophia was so well-loved."
Sophia died on the morning of June 27.
"I still have to live with that image in my head and it is something I will never forget," added hotel receptionist Amanda.
"But I also have so many happy memories of Sophia."
She is believed to be the 28th person in the UK to have died on a blind cord since 1999.
The British Blind and Shutter Association said it is making changes to ensure safety devices come with cord blinds.
Amanda has spoken to her MP, Forest of Dean's Mark Harper who said he would comment once he had spoken to to her again.
Stroud MP Neil Carmichael said: "Safety in the home is so important. I think it's important to identify issues like this and act so they can't happen again."
Gloucester MP Richard Graham said: "This is a ghastly human tragedy, but I don't think we should rush into changes into the law."
To sign the petition to have cord blinds banned at epetitions.direct. gov.uk/petitions/55067.