Mother tells of frantic bid to save toddler in window blind tragedy

The mother of a two-year-old girl who died after getting accidentally tangled in a window blind cord in her bedroom told yesterday how she frantically gave mouth-to-mouth to her daughter in an attempt to save her.

Alexandra Lucy Hoegh, the daughter of multi-millionaire businessman Morten Hoegh, 39, and his wife Dana, died after the tragic accident in her top-floor room at the family’s four-storey luxury home in west London last October, an inquest heard.

Mrs Hoegh gave evidence about how she ran into the street with her daughter’s limp body and tried to save her after she was found in her cot with a cord 
round her neck by her Filipino nanny.

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Westminster Coroner’s Court in London heard that Mrs Hoegh was chatting with a friend, Catherine Mathiesen, in the kitchen when they heard Melinda De La Cruz scream twice from upstairs.

“We went to the door of the kitchen and met Melinda with 
Alexandra,” she said.

“She was blue. She was not breathing.

“I ran downstairs into the street. I asked my friend Catherine to call an ambulance and started mouth-to-mouth on her on the pavement.”

She said Alexandra’s colour came back straight away from the CPR and she was a little sick but she did not respond further.

The inquest heard how she and Ms Mathiesen were found by police crying hysterically in the street as paramedics fought to revive the youngster.

Mrs Mathiesen and Mrs Hoegh had been so distressed that it had taken the 999 operator two minutes to establish their address to send an ambulance.

Alexandra was rushed to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, where she was pronounced dead at 3.17pm on October 29, just over an hour after she had been found.

Mr and Mrs Hoegh issued a statement after yesterday’s inquest saying their daughter’s death had left them devastated and asked for their privacy to be respected as they come to terms with their loss.

Coroner Fiona Wilcox ruled that Alexandra, just three weeks from her third birthday, died as the result of an accident.

She said she would write to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), asking it to talk to blind manufacturers about putting warnings on their products.

More than 20 children have died since 1999 from looped blind cords, according to figures released last year.

The inquest heard the toddler was found by the nanny standing in the cot with the cord around her neck when she went to wake her from what should have been an afternoon nap.

Mrs Hoegh told the inquest the nanny – who had trained in childcare in her native country but did not complete the course -– had arrived late for work at 1.50pm. She took over from her mother Andrea, who cleaned and helped nanny for the Hoeghs, apologised to her employer and then went upstairs to get the toddler at around 2.10pm.

The hearing was told Alexandra was “very adept” at climbing in and out of her cot, using a table next to it.

The roller blind on the window was within her reach if she stood in her cot, although she was not known to have done so.

The toddler’s death followed a series of similar incidents which prompted The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents to advise parents to install cordless blinds in children’s rooms, or keep cords out of reach.

In January 2012, two-year-old Arthur Winfield died after accidentally hanging himself with a window blind cord as he tried to see his friend out of a window in Markyate, Hertfordshire.

The same month, 22-month-old Joshua Wakeham died after becoming tangled in a cord at his home in Newport, south Wales.

Mrs Hoegh told the inquest her daughter had been her usual happy self and had been to her play group the morning before the accident. She added: “I insisted that day she have a nap because she had woken up at 3am.”

Giving the cause of death as asphyxiation caused by hanging, Dr Wilcox said Mrs Hoegh was “extraordinarily brave” to give evidence.