An inquest has heard that the death of a six-month-old boy was caused by the improper use of a Bumbo baby seat.
The Western Australian Coroner’s Court has heard that the boy’s Perth mother placed him in the seat under a running shower and left him alone for a few minutes in January 2013. The mother had always stayed with the little boy when he was in the seat previously, and was on this occasion feeling unwell and exhausted after trying to settle the restless child during a run of hot summer nights.
In the mother’s absence, the six-month-old fell out of the seat, which had moved to a position that blocked the drain of the shower. The cubicle filled with water and she returned to find her baby son not breathing.
ABC news reports that she performed CPR until paramedics arrived and transported him to Joondalup Health Campus in Northern Perth.
The little boy died three days later in hospital, with a forensic pathologist later concluding the boy had died from bronchopneumonia and hypoxic brain injury after nearly drowning.
The court heard that there is a voluntary worldwide recall of four million of the foam seats was announced in August 2012, with a free restraint belt and new safety guidelines offered via the Bumbo website.
Evidence was also heard that the six-month-old’s seat had no restraints or harness fitted at the time of the incident. Counsel assisting the coroner Lyle Housiaux also shared evidence that there are currently an estimated 950 new and used seats recently listed for sale, with almost half of them not including the retrofit safety harness.
“Kidsafe WA advises that all children should be closely supervised, within arm’s length, when in any water including when using bathrooms,” Mr Housiaux said. “They report that it only takes a few seconds in 5cm of water for a child to drown.”
WA Police forensic officer Michael Jeffrey Lamb said a test of the 20cm-high shower recess showed it filled to overflowing within about seven minutes.
Investigating officer Sarah Long told the court the tragic accident would not have happened if product use recommendations had been followed.
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