Tragedy struck new parents Natalie and Ned McDonagh when their child fell out of a window of their first floor home, to her death. The two-year-old Margaret McDonagh was allegedly placed in a cot and propped next to a window by her mother so she could get some fresh air.
Within just a few minutes, Margaret toppled out of the cot and fell. She was later seen lying on the road outside their Stoke-on-Trent home in Tunstall, UK, by her father.
The child was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital. However, little Margaret died 17 days after she fell to the concrete floor.
The devastated parents narrated their ordeal in an inquest that further investigated this case.
In her statement Natalie reportedly wrote: “Ned had gone into town with her and I was cleaning the house. It was the hottest day of the year.”
“I heard Ned come into the house. Windows had been opened in various parts of the house and I had put the bed close to the window to air it. The next thing I knew my daughter was found on the concrete injured,” she added.
Child fell out of a window even though she wasn’t left alone
The inquest revealed some chilling details about the incident.
Ned revealed that as soon as he saw his daughter on the concrete, he immediately informed the police and paramedics. She was rushed to the hospital and the medics identified her as having a traumatic brain injury.
She was placed in an induced coma after which she passed away.
Detective Constable Ciaran McNulty of the Staffordshire Police reportedly told the inquest: “The parents acted very quickly to get her to hospital. I later visited the scene of the incident and there was no evidence to show that anything was wrong – the windows were functioning as they should.
“There was no indication of any misuse of drugs in the property and the scene fitted the parents’ accounts. There was evidence to show her mum had been cleaning upstairs.”
“This was nothing more than a tragic accident. There was no deliberate neglect and the child wasn’t left alone for a particular length of time,” he added.
However, the loss of their only child has left the parents grief-stricken.
“We don’t want another child or another family to go through this”
In his statement to the inquest, after his child fell out of a window and died, Ned wrote: “Margaret was my first little girl and I waited so long to have a girl. She was everything to me and everything is gone now.”
“We want parents to be very aware of things like this because we don’t want another child or another family to go through this,” Ned wrote in his statement, after his child fell out of a window and died. | Image courtesy: stokesentinel.co.uk WS
“There is no life left after her, and whatever is left, we are just gliding through now. She made us so happy,” he wrote.
“We are living in misery because of this and we will never get over it. We want parents to be very aware of things like this because we don’t want another child or another family to go through this. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone,” McDonagh added.
Although an accidental death certificate has been given to the parents, this tragedy has one again stirred the debate about child safety. As proved by this incident, a toddler must never be left unattended.
Safety first, always!
As you know, more and more young parents are now living in high-rise buildings. And stories like this serve as timely reminders about child safety precautions that every single parent and caregiver of children MUST be aware of.
As mentioned in our previous article, mums and dads please take note of the following safety measures.
1. Install grilles on your windows
These grilles prevent your child from falling through an open window. So make sure you install them in your home as another measure to childproof your house. Remember to lock them up if ever opened. Make it a habit — leave a note where you keep your keys so you will be reminded about it whenever you head out.
2. Keep the area around windows and balcony walls clear
Do not keep any large objects that a child can climb on near the balcony or windows. A curious child may want to climb things and that means that such things can be used as ladders to reach otherwise unreachable open windows.
Also, keep an eye out for objects that when thrown, can break windows. These objects include marbles and heavy toys.
3. Teach your child about the dangers of windows and balconies
Explain to them why such a thing is dangerous instead of just telling them not to do it. If your child is old enough to understand simple instructions, you should make it a firm rule that he’s not allowed to open the window, or climb up the window at all times.
Explain the dangers of what can happen if they do so. And if it helps, find educational videos online to teach them about this as well.
Child safety is not just about making sure all is in order in the house, it is also about policing your home’s periphery. | Image courtesy: Pixabay
4. NEVER leave your child alone in the house
Do not take this risk. Experts warn against leaving your young child home alone even for a short period of time because as Dr Carol Balhetchet, Senior Director for youth services at the Singapore Children’s Society explains, “Within seconds, a three-year-old can do all sorts of things as they see the world with curiosity.”
Also, your child’s caregiver must watch them at all times. Even if they are carrying your baby or toddler, they need to stay away from the balcony. A child of this age can wriggle out their caregiver’s arms in a flash.
5. Lock the door to your balcony
If the management of your apartment complex does not permit grilles on your balcony, then ensure that the door to this area is kept locked, irrespective of whether you are with your child or not.
Even if your balcony is surrounded by protective bars, please check that a small child cannot squeeze through them.
If you think they are too widely spaced apart, speak to the management of your apartment. And work out a way around the possibility of implementing an appropriate and safe solution to the problem.
Sources: Mirror, The Sun
ALSO READ: How much do you know about child safety?
(Feature and Lead image courtesy: stokesentinel.co.uk WS)
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore