Infant Dies In Simplicity Bassinet That Was Not Part Of Recall

Tuesday, October 9th 2007, 7:23 pm
By: News On 6

PINEVILLE, Mo. (AP) _ Federal consumer safety officials are investigating a Simplicity Inc. bassinet design after local authorities blamed the death of a 4-month-old girl in southwest Missouri on one of the beds.

The model in the probe, a ``Simplicity 4-in-1,'' was not part of a recall last month of 1 million other baby beds from the company.

The sheriff's deputy who investigated the case and the coroner in McDonald County said Tuesday that they blame the Sept. 29 death on the design of the bassinet.

``It was the bassinet. The bassinet has issues,'' Deputy Jeff Sutherland told The Associated Press.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating, spokesman Scott Wolfson said.

Sutherland notified the CPSC after the death. He said an agency investigator came in last week to look at the bassinet and to watch a reconstruction of the accident in the baby's home.

The bassinet in question is model number 3112DOH6 with Winnie the Pooh decorations, Sutherland said. The label says it was made in China for Reading, Pa.-based Simplicity.

A spokesman for Simplicity declined to comment about the bassinet's design because the case is under investigation.

``Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this tragic time,'' said Simplicity spokesman Joe Householder.

Nancy Cowles, executive director of Chicago-based advocacy group Kids In Danger, said the Simplicity bassinet is a popular model.

``We hope that CPSC takes this incident seriously and moves quickly to recall this product if they find it contributed to the death,'' Cowles said.

Elizabeth Simon and Chris Priddy, of Jane, found their baby girl, Katelynn Marie Simon, unresponsive in her bed around 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 29. Authorities said the girl's parents told them she had been fine during a 5 a.m. feeding.

There was no listing for the girl's parents in the phone book, and coroner B.J. Goodwin said they do not want to be contacted by reporters.

Simon's lawyer, Jeff Slaton, of Springdale, Ark., said she wants to get the bassinet recalled first before possibly filing suit against the manufacturer and retailers. He said they have a meeting scheduled with the CPSC investigator this week.

``There isn't enough money in the world to pay her if the bassinet is not recalled, is how she feels,'' Slaton said.

Slaton said the bassinet was a gift from Simon's sister and that Simon believes it was purchased from Target. But the Simplicity spokesman said the model is sold only at Wal-Mart stores. It is listed on and stocked at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Jane in McDonald County, where it sells for $70.

Sutherland said the infant became pinned between the lower of two horizontal railings and her mattress. He said Katelynn had slipped out the side of the bassinet feet first and had become trapped with her chest in a 4-inch gap between the railing and the top of the mattress.

Katelynn's death was ruled an ``accidental positional asphyxiation'' by the coroner.

``That bassinet is dangerous. It should be banned,'' Goodwin said.

The bassinet is being held by the sheriff's department.

The CPSC recalled 1 million Simplicity cribs with a different design last month after three babies died.

Sutherland said Katelynn's parents took excellent care of the little girl, who had almost outgrown the 18-pound weight limit for the bassinet.

``If I was a parent and I had this bassinet, I would stop using it immediately and box it up and get a replacement,'' Sutherland said.

The family held a memorial service for the girl on Saturday.