The family of a "beautiful'' 1-year-old girl who died when
she became trapped by loose cot railings is angry they are
being blamed for the accident.
Ashburton girl Liiana Ato Mamapomisa died in Christchurch
Hospital's intensive care unit on her first birthday, March
26 last year, after the accident at her home two days
In findings released today, Coroner Richard McElrea found
Liiana died of a global ischaemic brain injury as a result of
Her standard wooden cot was loosely assembled, and Liiana had
fallen into a gap between the side rails on the frame and the
mattress - her head trapped against the mattress.
Ashburton police examined the cot two days later, and found
several parts of the frame were loose, the coroner found. Not
all the bolts were fitted, and the dowels were not properly
fitted into the woodwork at the top of the cot.
Coroner McElrea recommended parents follow the Ministry of
Health's advice by making sure cots had no gaps between the
frame and mattress that could trap or wedge a baby.
"The infant was in an unsafe sleeping environment due to the
looseness of the assembly of the cot,'' he concluded.
"This has directly resulted in the infant's death.''
Liiana's aunt, Krystle McIntosh, said the coroner's findings
had come as a complete surprise.
"It's terrible. I didn't expect that it would be plastered on
paper that it was our fault. I didn't expect that at all. You
feel like you're just getting through it and then.. boom,''
"I'm very angry, but I can't do much about it.''
Ms McIntosh was at the house at the time of the accident,
along with about 10 others who were all there to celebrate
Liiana's first birthday.
The cot was second-hand, and no one had thought about the
danger it posed, she said.
"I personally think that cots should be made illegal. I guess
it has to happen to you to think things like that, but keep
an eye out.''
Parents needed to watch out for seemingly harmless things,
"Be more aware and love your child as much as you can.''
Little Liiana was a "beautiful'' child, her aunt said.
"She was always happy and loved her food. She loved Twisties,
they were her favourite.''
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome New Zealand chief executive
Margret Free said infant deaths from badly-constructed cots
were a very rare occurrence.
Her staff gave parents advice about making sure mattresses
fitted snugly against a cot, but presumed people would not
reassemble the cot itself, she said.
Sleeping safe - how to
protect your baby
- Ensure your baby's face is clear of bedding and they can't
get trapped or strangled.
- Avoid using pillows and bumper pads, don't put baby down on
soft surfaces, make sure there are no loose blankets, remove
any cords from bedding and ensure there are no gaps in their
- Don't let your baby sleep in bed with another person.
Source: Ministry of Health
- Cassandra Mason and Lydia Anderson