A grieving mother has issued a warning to parents after an inquest determined that her 18-month-old daughter’s death was caused “by compression of the neck by ligature” after a baby monitor cord ended up wrapped around her neck.
Jessica Lacey Duggan was accidentally strangled by a cord hanging from the Motorola baby monitor while she was in her crib and pronounced dead at a hospital after the incident at her home in Shipdham, England, on October 25, 2018.
An inquest was held into Jessica’s death on March 26th, 2019.
Parents Danielle and Jason Duggan had decided to place a baby monitor with a camera on a shelf in their daughter’s bedroom so they could monitor her movements via their mobile phones.
On October 25th, Jason Duggan noticed the baby monitor’s camera had shifted position after setting Jessica down for a nap.
Upon investigating, he discovered she had managed to get hold of the wire connected to the baby monitor, and that it had wrapped around her neck.
As Danielle Duggan recalled:
“I removed the cord from her neck and put her on her changing table. My husband started CPR on her and we called the ambulance and the operator was counting for him while he was giving CPR.
He was doing it for eight to 10 minutes. I think she had passed by then but he was doing it until the ambulance got there and they took over. It was very, very traumatic as you can imagine.”
She says that the wire to the baby monitor “was always out of reach,” but that the unexpected still happened:
“We are just urging parents to be extra cautious — you have to box in everything. The wire was always out of reach — it was a corner shelf above her cot and the camera was at the back of the shelf, and the wire was tucked behind the shelf and tacked all the way down the wall and it was plugged into an extension lead underneath her cot.
It was safe and nothing had changed for the whole time she was sleeping in there, which was over a year. The coroner and the police think that she has seen the extension lead and pulled the extension lead up from underneath. The wires then got enough slack in it that she got the wire round her neck then the weight of the extension lead dropped and it cut off her air supply.
That’s what the coroner and the police have gathered together but no one knows. No one was there, we don’t know what happened or how she managed to do it. The wire was fleshed to the wall — we didn’t just leave her in a room with lots of wires hanging around.
When the police came round to look at the room, they had to remove four screws to get the wire out from behind the shelf — that’s how tight it was.”
Jason Duggan later took to social media, saying that “Raising awareness of the risks has been one of the most important points for us” since the couple lost their daughter.
Raising awareness of the risks has been one of the most important points for us since losing Jessica so seeing the story getting so much positive attention really makes us proud. Jessica would be proud of the positive impact she is having.@TheSun https://t.co/Ujvjzl61mF— Jason Duggan (@JDuggWFC2388) March 27, 2019
The incident––and Duggan’s warning––has clearly resonated with other parents.
Danielle Duggan says parents should always be aware of the dangers of corded appliances:
“If we were to have another baby we would get a wireless one. But it’s not just wires that you have to be careful about — it’s phone changers and other cords around the house.
“Just think outside the box when it comes to your toddler’s safety. They will get in to anything. even things you wouldn’t think of, as we know with Jessica. We’re urging parents just to box up everything you can,
One of the police officers that attended Jessica he had a little girl too. He had a similar set up to ours with the baby monitor and he said he went home and just stripped everything and took everything out. It really affected him.”
The grieving parents have created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the air ambulance that tried to save baby Jessica.
“The air ambulance service is all run by charity and due to the amazing care they gave our daughter, we would like to raise money for them in the hope that the money will help others when needed.”
Parents, please take note.