Sussex

Bednest cot death inquest: Concern over number of cots still used

Grace Roseman Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Grace Roseman was found with her head "hanging over the side" of the cot

A coroner has said she is "very concerned" about the number of Bednest cribs still in circulation following the death of a seven-week-old baby.

Grace Roseman was found lifeless in the bedside cot at her home in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, on 9 April 2015.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Penelope Schofield said she had died as a result of lifting her head and becoming trapped on a bar.

Bednest apologised for the "distress" and said it has modified the cots.

In a statement, the firm said: "We take on board all the coroner's comments following the inquest and apologise for the distress caused to the Rosemans.

"We will implement all the coroner's advice."

The company said it will "increase communications" with customers about the need for modifications to cots sold before November 2015 and offer users "the option to have their Bednest cribs returned to us for us to make the modifications".

How safe are Bednests?

The statement said: "Since the Bednest crib was first launched for sale, the safety of children has been at the heart of our company's ethos.

"We have worked with experts and independent test laboratories to ensure compliance with safety standards.

"We were devastated by the news of the death of baby Grace."

Ms Schofield said she was not convinced Bednest had accepted there was a risk.

'Harrowing accusations'

Last year the coroner issued a safety warning about the three-sided cot and expressed concerns about a lack of instructions.

Ms Schofield said there was no evidence to support suggestions from Bednest that Grace's toddler sister Pearl, who was two-and-a-half years old at the time, was in any way linked to her death.

She told Grace's parents Esther and Gideon Roseman: "It must have been particularly harrowing for you to face accusations from Bednest that Pearl was involved in her death.

"But it was particularly unpalatable because there was no evidence on which to base that proposition."

She said Grace had managed to get her head over a half-lowered side of the crib, but was unable to lift her head off again and died of positional asphyxia.

Image copyright Bednest
Image caption The Bednest crib is designed to be kept next to the parents' bed (picture posed with a model)

The coroner told the inquest 6,000 Bednest cribs had been manufactured and 45% of customers had apparently been reached by the company and offered modification kits.

Ms Schofield said she was concerned that Bednest did not "fully appreciate" the ongoing risks of the existing unmodified cots that are still being used.

She said: "What has struck me is their lack of compassion over this issue.

"I am disappointed that no-one from the company was here to listen to the evidence by the experts."

Mrs Roseman told the inquest she had not received instructions with the second-hand cot, nor straps to attach it to an adult bed.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Roseman said: "There are still thousands of these cots still out there that could be used in the same way that Esther and I used the cot."

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Gideon Roseman said he had had no concerns about using the cot

Mrs Roseman said: "I had to fight, it took me to anger, it wasn't about Grace any more, it was about protecting Pearl."

She added that the coroner's verdict was a "huge relief".

Family solicitor Jill Greenfield said Mr and Mrs Roseman "finally feel that justice has been done in Grace's name".

Ms Greenfield said: "They desperately hope that no other parents will ever have to go through a similar tragedy.

At a preliminary hearing last year, coroner Penelope Schofield issued a Regulation 28 Report to Prevent Future Deaths concerning the cot.

'Clear risk'

The Bednest crib was co-branded by the National Childbirth Trust (NCT).

In a statement, the NCT said: "That the charity is involved with this tragedy is a matter of profound and lasting regret.

"Since learning of this tragedy we have taken and will continue to take extensive action in the interests of safety.

"In particular we will continue to do all we possibly can to alert parents to the clear risk posed by the Bednest if used without the manufacturer's modification."

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