Thursday 30 March 2017

Window locks may have saved toddler from 30ft death fall

Allison Bray and Georgina O'Halloran

THE grieving mother of a toddler who died after falling from a two-storey window doesn't blame anyone for her son's tragic death despite the absence of a window lock that may have prevented the accident.

Agita Daukste (21), from Latvia, said no one can be blamed for the tragic death of her 16-month-old son Oskars who fell 30ft out the bedroom window of her apartment off Eyre Square, Galway, on March 27, 2010.

"All accidents are terrible and this was one of them," Ms Daukste told the Irish Independent last night, following the inquest into her son's death yesterday.

But she said she will always grieve the loss of her first-born, whom she described as being happy and full of energy.

"I miss him so much. All of our lives he'll be in our heart," she said.

The inquest at the Dublin City Coroner's court yesterday heard that the young mother always insisted that the bedroom window of her second floor apartment at Lydon Court was in the closed position.

But she said she was never given a key that would have securely locked it. On the morning of the tragedy, Ms Daukste had fallen asleep while her son was playing on the bedroom floor.

She didn't realise that he had climbed up on to the bed and opened the window as she slept.

Seamus Friel told the inquest he stepped on to the footpath in front of the apartment on Rosemary Avenue when "something fell from the sky" about six to 10ft in front of him.

"I didn't know what it was initially, but when I went over I realised it was a young child," he said.

Oskars was rushed to University College Hospital Galway where he was stabilised before being transferred to Temple Street Children's Hospital, Dublin, later that day.

He died from severe head injuries two days later. Ms Daukste, who works at a local Supermacs restaurant, said she struggled to sleep the night before the accident and had dozed off when she was woken a short time later by someone banging on her door.

Asleep

"I ran to the front door. I was told by two men that a baby had fallen out of the window and on to the footpath below. I knew it was Oskars. I ran down straight away. He was badly injured," she told the inquest.

"I don't know how I fell asleep. I didn't mean to go asleep," she added. She told the inquest that she had never asked for nor was given a key to secure the window lock. But she placed balloons away from the window to distract her son from going near it.

However, she had nothing but praise for the building's landlord and other neighbours and Galway residents whom she said have been very kind and supportive as she coped with her loss.

Coroner Brian Farrell said he will advise the National Landlords Association and the Irish Property Owners Association over the importance of providing a window locks in apartments and other rental properties, especially where the tenants have young children.

"We have had several inquests where similar incidents have occurred where children have fallen from windows of apartments and other properties where the window wasn't secured properly," he said.

The coroner delivered a verdict of accidental death.

Irish Independent

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