PINEVILLE, Mo. – Investigators are blaming the death of a 4-month-old girl in southwest Missouri on a Simplicity Inc. bassinet that 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, which was bought at a WalMart store in nearby Fayetteville, Ark.
"It was the bassinet. The bassinet has issues," Deputy Jeff Sutherland told The Associated Press.
The bassinet in question is a "Simplicity 4-in-1" 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 because the case is under investigation.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this tragic time," said Simplicity spokesman Joe Householder.
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 Goodwin said they do not want to be contacted by reporters.
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 become trapped with her chest in a 4-inch gap between the foam-covered metal railing and the top of the mattress.
Katelynn's death was ruled an "accidental positional asphyxiation" by McDonald County coroner B.J. Goodwin.
"That bassinet is dangerous. It should be banned," Goodwin said.
Sutherland agreed and called the federal Consumer Products safety Commission, which sent an investigator last week. The bassinet is being held by the sheriff's department.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 1 million Simplicity cribs with a different design last month after three babies died.
The commission did not respond immediately to an e-mail seeking comment Tuesday.
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.