Baby Safe, Thanks to Big Brother
While watching TV one winter evening with her three young sons -- Micah, then 4, Matthias, then 3, and Moses, then just 11 months -- Linsey Knerl, a home-schooling mom from Tekamah, Nebraska, decided to look up a recipe for dinner. She went into the kitchen to flip through a cookbook but had barely turned a page before her eldest son popped in. "Mom, Baby Moses needs help," Micah said firmly.
Knerl figured her 11-month-old might have pushed his bottle under the couch or wanted a plaything from the toy box -- no big deal. After all, she could hear that Moses wasn't crying. "I said, 'Okay, just a minute,'" she recalls. But seconds later, Micah returned. "No, Mom, I really think Moses needs help," he insisted, grabbing her hand and pulling her toward the living room.
She was shocked to find Moses standing on his tiptoes, leaning against the back of the sofa, with a window-blind cord wrapped tightly around his neck. His face was a reddish-purple color, his eyes were bloodshot, and he didn't appear to be breathing. "I started screaming and crying, and so did his brothers," Knerl recalls.
She quickly but carefully removed the cord from her baby's neck, then speed-dialed her pediatrician's office. After listening to her description, the doctor told her that Moses was okay: Despite the ligature marks on his neck, he was crying and drinking from his sippy cup -- both signs that he was actually doing fine.
Knerl immediately got rid of the window blinds, a safety hazard for young kids that she hadn't been aware of. And she pledged never to leave her kids unattended, even for a second, until they're much older. "Thank goodness Micah came to get me so quickly," she says. "He saved Moses's life!"
If it weren't for Micah's persistence, his mom might not have found little Moses in time.
Life-Saving Tip: Avoid cord hazards. You can't teach a baby or a toddler to stay away from strangulation dangers, so eliminate this risk by getting cordless shades or blinds. If that's not possible, cut the loop into two strands and use a cord winder (a plastic gadget that moves the cord out of the way) or a hook to keep them out of reach. You can order a free retrofit cord-repair kit at windowcoverings.org.