Toddler almost strangles himself in window blind cord

Nicky and Nate Walla from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and their seven children are a big, happy family. They love watching their children grow up and have many great memories and video footage of their children's early years. But 12 years ago, Nicky filmed something terrible.  

YouTube/ABC News

Their two young twins were learning to walk and were being fed by their big brother. Nicky filmed the babies and they both laughed joyfully for the camera. But the filming was interrupted by the sound of beeping telephone, so Nicky turned around to hang up the receiver. As the camera panned around, it caught something behind the babies that left the mother screaming loudly in panic. 

YouTube/ABC News

Gavin, their then 5 year old son, was hanging lifeless next to the window. The cord from the blinds was tangled around his neck and he could only just touch the ground with his toes. The boys arms and head hung limp. Nicky instantly dropped the camera which recorded her desperate cries: "Gavin!! Gavin!!" 

YouTube/ABC News

You can hear her husband Nate enter the room and Nicky screaming "He's choked himself! He's blue!" hysterically as Nate tries to bring his son back to life in the background. "Can you breathe?" he asks the boy repeatedly.

YouTube/ABC News

Then the parents heard the most beautiful sound of their lives. Their little boy coughs, then he starts to cry. But the crying meant that he was alive!

YouTube/ABC News

YouTube/ABC News

Every year in the USA around 100 children die as a result of strangulation from curtain cords. It can happen so quickly — within a very short time, the child loses consciousness and after just one minute it is already dead. The few who can be freed quickly enough are often left severely disabled due to brain damage caused by lack of oxygen.

Gavin somehow came away with nothing more than a red mark from the cord and some internal bleeding on his face. But he is one of the lucky ones — he is now 19 years old and the accident is a distant memory. Gavin is extremely grateful for his good fortune and agreed to release the video footage his mother filmed to the public to raise awareness about this danger and hopefully save some lives...

Manufacturers have paid attention to these kinds of stories and are now creating products that are much safer for children. But the dangers lurk everywhere and are often not easy for parents to see. Thank goodness there are people like Gavin and his family who are willing to make their story public so that at least one of those dangers is no longer hiding right in front of our eyes.

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