Review launched in child’s death

Posted Dec. 31, 2008, at 8:08 p.m.

VINALHAVEN, Maine — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a federal agency that investigates deaths and serious injuries in an effort to identify product dangers, has launched an investigation into the portable crib and bedding used by a 2-year-old boy who died last weekend on Vinalhaven.

The child, Noah Thompson, was strangled Saturday by a mesh covering that was placed over his portable crib. His parents, Marc Thompson and Lisa Rosen of Harvard, Mass., told Maine State Police detectives that they placed the netting over the crib Friday night, when they put the child to sleep, to keep the boy from climbing out.

Police have said the mesh covering on Noah’s crib was not part of the crib and had been purchased separately.

The child became entangled between the edge of the crib and the netting and was found dead by his mother on Saturday morning.

“We immediately launched an investigation,” Scott Wolfson, spokesman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, confirmed Wednesday.

“It was quickly opened this weekend when we learned of the tragic death of this child,” Wolfson said. “Nothing is more important than the sleeping environment of a baby. The resting environment needs to be as safe as possible.”

Wolfson said there have been complaints and recalls involving mesh-sided portable cribs similar to the one used on Vinalhaven, but confirmed that most of those involved children becoming trapped between mattresses and the mesh sides of the cribs.

The crib used by the Thompson family was a Pack N Play by Evenflo, which has warnings sewn into its coverings on the dangers of adding mattresses to the units.

Consumer Product Safety Commission records indicate that between 1978 and 1985, when mesh was more commonly used in cribs, 15 children died when left in cribs or playpens with mesh siding.

Wolfson also confirmed that two months ago, the commission recalled about 2,000 mesh-sided convertible cribs made by PlayKids U.S.A. after a New York City infant died when caught between the mattress and a side rail.

Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police, said there would be no charges in the Vinalhaven death. “It was simply a terrible, tragic accident,” he said.

Wolfson said the safety commission would complete its review as quickly as possible “so that we can take an appropriate action to protect the safety of other children. It is very early in the investigation at this point.”

Wolfson said the Consumer Product Safety Commission has an early warning system that triggers investigations on cribs, bassinets and playpens immediately after a death or serious injury. “We do all we can to connect the dots and see if there have been other cases with similar data or if there is an emerging hazard,” He said the investigation, which could include examining the Thompsons’ crib and netting, could be concluded by the end of next week.

bdnpittsfield@verizon.net

487-3187

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