Game of Jump Rope Turns Deadly for 7-Year-Old Girl

Mom Moment 40

closet booby trapped with ropesMy 7-year-old daughter is a wonderfully creative and meticulous child who just so happens to have a fascination with ropes. By ropes I mean curtain ties, shoelaces, pet leashes, workout bands, hair ties, Velcro straps, bandannas, any kind of common household restraining device she can get her hands on. She will bondage up a stuffed bunny between her bedposts hammock style and booby-trap the coat closet (see left) into an elaborate spider's web of hangers and stringage. As bizarre as her projects are, they take so much thought and engineering I hate to dissuade her -- until now, until today's story about the little girl my daughter's exact age who strangled herself while playing with a jump rope. So awful and random, all my brain can process is that it's time to break my little one of herhabit right away.

"Make sure you wrap or secure the cords to all your window blinds." That's one of the first childproofing lessons we learn as parents. But we foolishly think that only pertains to babies and toddlers, who are too young to know any better. But this recent story is a reminder that even ropes and bigger kids do not mix.

The 7-year-old girl in Washington state was at a playground jumping rope with her 5-year-old brother and two babysitters. The accident happened when the babysitters went off with her little brother to pick berries. When they came back, the little girl was lying on the ground with the rope around her neck. She died at the hospital a short while later.

Stories like this chill to the bone because who would ever suspect tragedy out of something so innocent, something so seemingly "safe" as a jump rope, a toy kids have been playing with for decades upon decades in every park, driveway, and school playground everywhere. Who would ever think we constantly need to supervise our children while playing with one.

Even I've been lax when it comes to my daughter's own rope handiwork. It always seemed more cute and innovative than dangerous, even when she used the ropes on herself. Like inventing new outfits consisting entirely of bandannas (definitely not something she'd be allowed wearing out of the house) or velcroing a bed sheet to her body to play ghost. Lord knows what brilliant but dangerous idea is going to pop into her head next!

Yes this is probably rare, most freak accidents are. But it doesn't make them any less shocking to read. At least there's a lesson for other parents, at a horrible unfair cost, of course. It's time to help my daughter channel all that ingenuity into something else. Perhaps macrame? Or rock-climbing. That requires lots of knot tying, and is probably much safer.

Does this story make you reconsider letting your child play with ordinary things that could have hidden dangers?

girls, kid activities


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Heather Duso Johnson

According to the linked article she was found on the slide and the little brother said she'd had the rope around her neck earlier.   

Elizabeth Goold

I dont really consider this a freak accident. Anything that a child could strangle themselves with should be put away and not be a toy. Yes, jump ropes are fun. But when they are old enough to understand. At the age of 7, you might think they are old enough, but how mature are they? This is just another reason that you explain to your child that you should not put things like that around your neck. 

Meg Moore

A 7 year old died and you manage to name drop 50 shades..WTF is wrong with you people?

nonmember avatar Liz

They're saying now that the little boy and girl are both 4 years old and the little girl was left alone on the playground when the nanny went blackberry picking with the brother. I'm sorry but that seems too young to be left alone like that. So terrible and tragic.

nonmember avatar gigimama

How awful. That poor kiddo. Her family has to be crushed.

(p.s. Leave it to The Stir to cram a 50 shades reference into a tragic story of a child's accidental death at a playground.)

Anita Tippets

Two babysitters and they left a 7 year old child alone?


mount... mountainmommy37

all "ordinary" things can become deadly, especially when you watch the news and turn everything into fear.

jpfsmom jpfsmom

Your 50 Shades reference is tasteless and crass at best.  Seriously are reaching new lows. 


Sandra Spiry

Wow wth is wrong with this writer/mom to refferance her own young girl and 50 shades in the same context?? I regret reading this story...lesson learned. And it's called supervision people!! They were supposed to be under supervision of adults.

Judith Kolish

What is the real story here, no one seems to know,
you don't leave any child alone anywhere these days. 50 Shades my A-- who would even thing of such an anilagy

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