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  • Meesha Williamson's hanging death a warning for all parents
  • By Anthony DeCeglie
  • Perth Now
  • 14/12/2008 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: The Rooster ( 264 articles in 2008 )
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MEESHA Jaide Williamson should be getting ready to celebrate her fifth Christmas.

But, tragically, her life was cut short in September 2006, six weeks short of her third birthday, when she became tangled in a looped blind cord and was hanged.

The safety device meant to stop the cords from hanging loose was not installed properly. It was fixed to the wall of Meesha's Wickham bedroom with double-sided tape instead of screws.

A Perth magistrate found recently that the company that installed the product had been ``grossly negligent'', and fined it $8800.

Meesha's grandfather, John Williamson, and North-West MP Vince Catania are campaigning to increase the scrutiny on blind and curtain suppliers in WA.

``I was at work when I received a phone call telling me Meesha had been found hanging from the blind cords in her bedroom and that she had been taken to hospital unconscious,'' Mr Williamson said.

``When I arrived at the hospital I was met in the car park and told Meesha had passed away.''

A mandatory safety standard for window coverings operated by a loop cord came into effect in April 2004.

All loop cords hanging lower than 1.6m from the base of a curtain, blind or shade must be fitted with a safety mechanism so that the cord remains fixed and immobile.

But Mr Williamson and Mr Catania said that in spite of the legislation, many homes were not properly protected.

``Since Meesha died, there have potentially been 24 young children who have needlessly died as a result of negligent acts,'' Mr Williamson said. ``There should have been none.''

Mr Catania wants tighter control of safety devices supposed to stop curtain cords from hanging loose. He said some plastic devices could be bought in WA hardware stores for as little as $3 and they broke easily, offering little protection.

Mr Catania said he was prepared to introduce a private members Bill in parliament next year to ``toughen up'' legislation.

Mr Williamson has already written to all members of State Parliament calling for their support.

``Our children are being killed in our houses and we can stop it,'' he said.

A Department of Consumer and Employment Protection spokesman said the responsibility for installing curtain and blind cords rested with the person installing them.

He said DOCEP inspectors visited the premises of curtain and blind suppliers to ensure they were aware of safety requirements.


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