Mother shares footage of son, 4, struggling to breathe in mouldy flat

Mother shares upsetting footage of her four-year-old son struggling to breathe and covered in sores as she fears he ‘may die’ in ‘black mould-infested flat’

  • A mother says she worries her son, 4, will die in their mouldy flat
  • Demi Rock’s son Kyden has asthma and is covered in painful sores  

Upsetting video footage shows a four-year-old boy struggling to breathe and riddled with sores which his mother blames on ‘black mould covering their home.’ 

Demi Rock, 30, has said she watches over her four-year-old son Kyden every night as he struggles to breathe and is ‘terrified he’ll die’ because of their ‘mouldy and damp flat.’

His asthma is made worse by the conditions of the flat in Milton Keynes, she claims, and his tiny body is also covered in painful eczema which she says doctors believe is caused by his poor living conditions.

Despite Demi pleading with the council to rehome her from her Grand Union housing association flat, she’s so far had no luck as the council insist there is no mould problem. 

She said: ‘I’m at my wits’ end and don’t know what to do. 

Four-year-old Kyden has been filmed struggling to breathe in a flat his mother says is mouldy 

She said: ‘I’m at my wits’ end and don’t know what to do.

‘I am terrified he will die.

‘There’s already been a young child that’s died through living in damp and mouldy conditions. What if my son is next?’

Two-year-old Awaab Ishak was killed in 2020 by mould which riddled his social housing flat, causing respiratory failure.

After the inquest into Awaab’s death last November, Housing Secretary Michael Gove said the tragedy should never have happened and underlined the need to ensure every landlord provides decent accommodation for tenants.

Despite this, Demi has battled the mould problem in her two-bed flat which she shares with her nine-year-old daughter and Kyden since 2019.

Demi has lost count of the number of times Kyden, who also has Autism and is non-verbal, has been admitted to hospital struggling to breathe.

Blood tests confirmed that his allergy to the black mould is causing allergic reactions including itching skin, swollen eyes and becoming irritable, disrupting the four-year-old’s sleep.

Demi, a stay-at-home mum, said: ‘He is living in an allergy. I’m having to take him to hospital about once a month because he struggles to breathe.

‘You wouldn’t give someone with a peanut allergy a peanut butter sandwich so how is it acceptable to leave him in this house?’

His mother has said the sores on his body are due to the black mould covering their home 

Kyden’s condition has been exacerbated by his surroundings, his mother said 

The single mum, who is disabled herself, has complained to Grand Union repeatedly: ‘But when they come out to inspect they say there’s no mould.

‘That’s because I’ve spent hours constantly scrubbing it away. I can’t risk Kyden breathing it in.’

She has a 12-litre dehumidifier which she says fills up hourly, and places three moisture remover pots in each room which can last up to six weeks, but she says fill up in nine days.

She uses bleach and black mould remover on the walls, has her extractor fan on constantly and ventilates the property daily.

She keeps her heating on as much as she can given that the cost of living crisis has seen gas bills to soar, but two of her flat’s radiators don’t work and haven’t yet been replaced.

She said: ‘Our mattresses are soaked, my furniture gets covered in mould. I wash the children’s clothes and put them away, all clean and tumble-dried.

‘Then when I get them out to dress them they are horrible and damp.’

His mother is desperate for something to be done about the house 

Due to the mould in the 11-year-old building she has had to replace the children’s beds four times in four years.

She has replaced her bed twice, had two sofas and three different dining tables after they all became compromised with mould.

She described being exhausted with worry for her son and the pain caused by her chronic pain condition fibromyalgia, which she says is made worse by having to scrub her house clean from mould multiple times a week.

Despite the financial strain of cleaning the house, replacing furniture, running the heating and the £300 electric dehumidifier, she’s most concerned for her son.

She said: ‘I don’t know when the next asthma attack is going to happen or how severe it will be. They have failed my son completely by leaving him here.

‘If he dies that’s my baby. You can replace plaster boards and radiators- you cannot replace my son.’

Demi has requested to be moved into council accommodation, but nothing has become available yet.

Kyden’s sores means he struggles to move around the house  

Kyden was filmed whimpering as he struggled to draw breath 

According to Grand Union a ventilation system has since been installed in the property, but Demi said this isn’t the case.

According to her, her neighbours in the apartment building all have the same issue.

In response, Grand Union issued a lengthy statement, which read: ‘We changed our approach to dealing with damp and mould over a year ago.

‘This follows the excellent ‘spotlight’ report written by the Housing Ombudsman Service, including setting up a dedicated team to respond to reports.

‘Our technical team has visited Mrs Rock each time she has reported a reoccurrence of damp in her home and we have installed additional ventilation, on the advice of a specialist ventilation company, and provided guidance on how to manage moisture.’

A council spokesman said: ‘The council is willing to step in and help housing association tenants in situations like these, but they should first raise their complaint through the Housing Ombudsman.

‘After this, we can take necessary action if the issue is still not addressed.

‘We’re working on the request for council housing separately, and will allocate a suitable property as soon as it becomes available.’

His mother says she is at her wit’s end and doesn’t know what to do 

Demi is now pursuing a compensation claim for her damaged belongings and expenses incurred by the mouldy property.

She is also considering launching private court action against the council for failing her family under their Disability Act obligations to provide them with a decent and suitable home.

Grand Union added: ‘At our most recent inspection in January, we found some additional damp resulting from a leak from one of her toilets; this has been fixed but will need to dry out.

‘We appreciate that living in a two-bed flat with two children, and some really complex medical needs, is difficult and absolutely understand her wish to move home.

‘Our support team have previously worked with her to assist her and the local authority with her application to move, however we also have to be really honest about the pressure on the housing system.

‘We know how high the demand for affordable housing is in Milton Keynes.

‘We want to be open and transparent about the decisions that we make and particularly the condition of her home and so are currently working with her solicitor to arrange for an independent survey of her home to take place.

‘We will act on the findings of this and will continue to do everything that we can do to ensure she has a safe, secure and well-maintained home and support her to get the move she so desperately wants.’

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