BUSHTON. Kan. (KSNW) – It’s been about two months since a tragic loss for the Redding family. One of their twin toddler sons died after being strangled by a window cord.
Azariah Redding describes her son Cameron as a good and happy baby.
“He just smiled all the time,” she said. “He laughed all the time.
Cameron’s smile can now only be seen in pictures.
“I feel like he’s still here but he’s really not,” said Redding.
Cameron was 16 months when he died on March 16.
Redding recalled that day as “heartbreaking.”
Cameron and his twin brother were sleeping in the bedroom, while Redding’s two older sons were with their father in the living room. When she came back from doing laundry at her grandparents’ house, she wanted to go nap with the twins, but ended up walking into a parent’s worst nightmare.
“I seen my son hanging from a blind string,” she said.
Redding called 911, who led her through CPR until the ambulance came.
“I was just begging God to just let him come back to me,” she said.
However, their efforts couldn’t bring Cameron back.
“They came up to me and they said ‘We’re sorry, your son, he’s dead,'” said Redding, holding back tears.
Although her other sons are too young to understand what happened, they miss him.
KSN asked Aiden Cervantes if he thinks about his brother Cameron, he nodded.
Redding said the brothers think Cameron is just sleeping, and ask when he’ll wake up.
“I just say that he can’t,” she said. “That he’s not here with us anymore, that we’ll love him forever, and he’ll always be in our hearts.”
The pain that the Redding family is feeling so strongly is all too common, according to a coordinator for Safe Kids Kansas.
“It’s just one of those things that can happen that gets overlooked,” said Bob Shubert.
He added that some parents don’t realize the real danger that window blind cords pose to children.
“A lot of times when they wake up in the middle of the night, they’ll just grab anything to play with,” said Shubert. “If the cord is hanging there, it’s just easy access for them.”
The Redding family is now left with only memories. When they visit Cameron’s grave, the use Legos — his favorite toy — to reminisce about their favorite memories with him.
Redding holds up a Lego that has ‘The Proudest Moment’ written on it and said, “That was probably the day he had passed away, he actually took his first steps.”
As each day passes, it gets harder for Redding — wishing she could go back to March 16.
“I wouldn’t have took my eyes off of him,” she said. “I would have him sleeping here in the living room with me, or I would have woke him up and took him to wherever I did laundry.”
The family is now using Cameron’s death to create awareness.
“Take down all your blinds, the ones that have the strings hanging,” warned Redding. “You never know, you could be in the same room and look away for just a second and it could still happen.”
Since Cameron’s death, Redding has taken all the blinds in the house down and a Wichita window store is providing them with new ones free of charge.
Although it won’t bring Cameron back, she knows it’s one way to keep her other sons safe — and hopes others do the same.
“We found that 73 percent of surveyed parents say they have heard of children strangling in window blind cords, but only 23 percent say they have made changes to their window blinds such as removing the cord or installing tension devices.”
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, from 1996-2012, there were 184 fatalities and 101 non-fatal injuries among children eight years and under related to window blind cords. That’s around 11 fatalities a year.
The official said there’s not a lot of complete data about this issue, because it doesn’t get reported in the saw way as other types of injuries. However, he said it is common enough that parents should be aware about it.
- Window Coverings Safety Council – (How to retrofit your blinds)
- Parents for Window Blind Safety
- The Washington Post: Kids are strangling on blind cords when we’ve known for years they’re dangerous