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Premature baby died 'after slip in car seat'

A BABY girl died in her car seat after slipping down and suffocating.

Katie Reilly of Kilcross Court, Sandyford, Co Dublin was six and a half months old when she died on January 8, 2008.

Baby Katie had been born prematurely. Yesterday at the opening of her inquest it emerged that her small size as a result of being premature may have been a factor in her death.

State pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy said that the death was a sudden unexpected death in infancy with positional asphyxia and prematurity as major factors.

"This is not a SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). It's a positional asphyxia," said the coroner, Dr Brian Farrell.



Unnatural

"This is an unnatural death due to the position the child was in," he said.

Dr Farrell told Dublin City Coroner's Court that there would have to be an inquest into the baby's death with a formal finding by a jury.

With SIDS, which is commonly known as cot death, no cause is found to suggest how or why the child has died, the inquest heard. If there are unusual findings the death cannot be categorised as SIDS, but as a sudden unexpected death in infancy.

Giving evidence, Professor Cassidy told the inquest that it appeared the child had slipped down in the car seat, which she had examined and which was intended for a much larger child.

The child's position in the car seat could have led to hyperflexion of the neck and kinking of the windpipe which would have reduced the child's oxygen intake leading to hypoxia a condition known as positional or postural asphyxia, she explained.

She said the child was vulnerable because she was premature. This was the reason for the retarded development of the baby, who weighed 3.56kg and appeared rather thin.



Increased

It would appear the child's weight had increased since birth, the state pathologist said.

There were no injuries and the child had not been physically abused, the inquest heard.

The baby's mother, Laura Reilly and her father James Kavanagh were in court yesterday. Liam O'Dalaigh was also in court representing the HSE.

The coroner adjourned the inquest for full hearing in October and said that in the meantime he would consider the scope of the inquest."

There will have to be a formal finding by a jury," he said.

fdillon@herald.ie


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