Burnley baby dies in bunk bed accident: warning

Baby Olivia.
Baby Olivia.
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The devastated parents of a baby girl who died after becoming trapped in a bunk bed have warned others not to make the same mistake.

Eight-month-old Olivia-Leigh Picton died five days before Christmas when her father David discovered her unresponsive on the bottom bunk of her bed in Rydal Street, Burnley.

An inquest at Burnley Coroner’s Court heard that Olivia had died by being suspended by the neck when her head had become accidentally wedged between the mattress and bunk bed ladder.

Her heartbroken mother Katie Ross (23) told the hearing that she had consulted with a health visitor before sleeping Olivia in the bunk.

She said, through the coroner, that the family wanted to warn other parents of the dangers of bunk beds for babies.

Miss Ross said: “Olivia’s older sister Ella-Mae has always struggled to sleep and became too attached to us. We did not want the same to happen to Olivia, we wanted to get her in a routine.

“We spoke to the health visitor who advised that we put a bed brace on to stop her rolling out. This was a rail attached underneath the mattress.

“Olivia had been in the bunk two months without any problems. She was a happy, healthy baby who was sleeping well. She was finding it easier to sleep in her bunk bed than she was in her cot.

“Olivia would have her bottle when she woke up, have a nap and would then be full of life – giddy and happy.”

Home Office Pathologist Dr Naomi Carter, who conducted the post-mortem examination, said Olivia had minor external minor marks to her neck and shoulder.

Dr Carter said: “Olivia was found hanging down the side of the bed. She was suspended by the neck, which caused her death, but there were no features that led me to believe she had been neglected.

“There was a microscopic evidence of a minor viral infection, but Olivia was otherwise a healthy, clean baby.”

Recording a verdict of accidental death, East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor, gave some words of comfort to the bereft young family.

He said: “There is nothing I can say that can make this any better at all.

“You were doing what you thought at the time was right.

“In hindsight, it wasn’t necessarily right. However, you mustn’t blame yourselves. This was a tragic accident.”

The couple, their friends and family raised money for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital after completing a 12-mile sponsored walk in Olivia’s memory at Easter.