As parents we took all of the necessary precautions to help keep our children safe within and outside of our many homes. Being a military family, we moved often and always had to make sure the next place was just as safe as the last house. I plugged electrical outlets, used baby gates, put the chemicals up out of the reach of our kids. I held their hands as we crossed the street and had them “watch for cars”, these are some of the many things we did. The window blinds got passed me. Our lives changed forever on February 15, 2008. Weslea was strangled on the beaded chain loop that operated our window blinds.
Weslea was a fun, happy, quirky, four year old princess, dancing her school hallways in her pink cowgirl boots. Loving the challenge of putting puzzles together “cardboard side up” and finding the beauty in even the most unappealing things. Always Mommy’s little sidekick.
We left the hospital with a box. It had her hand prints, footprints, and a lock of her hair that had the little bow she had in it that day.
In the following days, the out pouring of love from our friends, family and even strangers moved me however, I felt like I carried a huge weight of guilt, sadness and devastation. I felt I had failed. I never realized the scope of the window blind cord issue.
I can tell you that my guilt, sadness and devastation have softened. I did not fail. I am in a really good place today. Weslea, in her death, has taught me some huge lessons about me and who I strive to be. I had always feared that the world will never know what a neat little kid she was…but today, I know they will. In the founding days of this awareness campaign I am confident that as pioneers we are paving the way to provide education to the masses and that someday the danger of window blinds cords will be as well-known as swimming pool and bathtub dangers.
I don’t ever want anyone to feel the things I have felt. No parent should have to pick out an urn or casket for their child, especially for something like this. Knowing that cordless is best, and if cordless isn’t an option right now, how to make your blinds safer for your children, is my ultimate goal. If the world knows that blind cords are dangerous then they won’t be as dangerous anymore.
Chantal Teraberry (Forever, Weslea’s Mom)
President/Awareness of Blind Cord Safety Foundation