'Tragic' death of one-year-old prompts coroner's wire warning

Norfolk's new coroner Jacqueline Lake.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk - Credit: Simon Finlay

The hidden dangers of loose electrical wires have been highlighted following the tragic death of a one-year-old with an “infectious laugh and beautiful smile”. 

The warning came at the inquest of Thetford tot, Adalind Alana Louise Blackburn, who died earlier this month after becoming tangled in the cord of safety equipment designed to protect her.

Despite her mother's best efforts to save her daughter, Adalind died at hospital just days later. 

Speaking at the inquest, which was held at County Hall, Norwich, senior coroner Jacqueline Lake described the incident as “clearly a most tragic accident”. 

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help the family of Adalind Blackburn pay for her funeral

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help the family of Adalind Blackburn pay for her funeral - Credit: GO FUND ME

Summing up the evidence on Thursday, March 24, Mrs Lake explained how the youngster had been put to bed as usual on the evening of Saturday, March 12 in a room she shared with her two-year-old brother. 

The CCTV footage obtained from a motion-sensor device showed that around 6.20am on Sunday, March 14, Adalind walked towards the end of her coat and put her hand through the slatting. 

After she located the wire connected to an electronic room thermometer from behind a duvet placed to hide the wire, she played with it and it went around her neck and tightened before she became unresponsive. 

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Shortly afterwards, her mother, Shauni Blackburn, came into the bedroom and removed the wire. She then called 999 and was advised to begin CPR. 

Paramedics arrived soon after and continued giving life support before admitting Adalind to the accident and emergency department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. She was then transferred to the Neurosciences Critical Care Unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital and put into an induced coma. 

After 72 hours, the young girl had shown “little sign of improvement” and the life support machine was switched off. She died on the afternoon of Thursday, March 17.  

Dr David Inwald gave the cause of death as a hypoxic-ischaemic brain injury following cardiac arrest, via accidental strangulation. 

County Hall, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The inquest for Adalind Blackburn took place at County Hall on March 24, 2022 - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A police report read out in court, provided by detective sergeant Simon Cooper of Norfolk police, confirmed that Ms Blackburn had “taken significant steps to safeguard her children”. 

He added: “She did all she could to make sure her children were safe and healthy and invested in modern technology to assist her doing this. 

“It is somewhat ironic this modern technology purchased to safeguard the children has, in this cause, caused the death of Adalind. 

“There is no doubt in my mind that this was a tragic accident. 

“Lessons could be learned in terms of ensuring wires are kept as far away as possible from young children or that cots and children’s beds are placed in positions in the room away from plug sockets. 

“Or where this is physically not possible, wires are securely fixed inside a plastic tube that is then screwed to the wall to prevent little hands from grabbing them.” 

Concluding the cause of death as “accidental”, Mrs Lake said the inquest highlighted the dangers of loose wires. 

She added: “All efforts should be made to keep them securely fixed and out of harm's way. 

“I have no doubt that Adalind’s mum loved her dearly and had acted only in ways intended to keep her safe. 

“I offer my sincere condolences to Adalind’s mother and her family.”  

Since her death, a Go Fund Me page has been set up by family friend Edwina Clark to help with the funeral costs. 

Paying tribute, Ms Clark wrote: “On the evening of March 17, a baby grew her wings far too soon. She was just 14 months old; and following a heart attack four days earlier, her body could not fight anymore. 

“She has left behind loving mum Shauni and her two-year-old big brother Frankie who doted on her. Nothing could have prepared them for this. 

“So many people will miss her. Her infectious laughter, her funny craziness, the way she always had to be involved in EVERY (sic) conversation, and her beautiful smile which melted everyone. 

“As her family grieves and her mum supports herself and her son through the most tragic times, we wanted to raise funds to help with the funeral costs and allow them to remember her in a beautiful and personal way.”  

Adalind was born in Norwich on January 20, 2021. 

Visit the website https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-shauni-and-frankie-celebrate-adalinds-life to donate.