Wexford People

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Parents of baby who died at local creche urge HSE to examine cots


Wexford  Coroner, Dr Sean Nixon.

Wexford Coroner, Dr Sean Nixon.

Wexford Coroner, Dr Sean Nixon.

The parents of a baby who died in an accident at a Wexford creche have urged the HSE to carefully examine cots during creche inspections.

They have also appealed to other parents to make sure certain cots at home are in good working order.

The plea came at the inquest into the death of 19-month-old Fiachra McMahon from Kilcorral, Castlebridge, who died in a cot accident at Wonderwise Creche in Sinnottshill, Castlebridge, on December 9, 2014.

On the recommendation of Coroner Sean Nixon, the jury at the Wexford Coroner's Court sitting in the Talbot Hotel returned a verdict of accidental death, after some harrowing evidence from childcare workers, the creche owner, paramedic Ger Hartigan and Wexford Garda Michael Lee.

In her deposition, childcare assistant Chrissie Vaughan, College Green, said she got Fiachra ready for the rest room before 3 p.m. She told her colleague Rebecca Whitney that she had put Fiachra down to sleep. Rebecca said she would keep an eye on him while Chrissie was looking after the after-school children in the baby room.

While in the baby room, Chrissie heard Rebecca shouting her name. She returned to the rest room and saw that Fiachra's head had slipped out between the bars of the cot.

The emergency services and the creche owner Priscilla were  contacted.

Chrissie said she had heard nothing unusual coming from the baby monitor while Fiachra was in the rest room.

In a deposition, childcare assistant Rebecca Whitney, Ballymore, said she looked into the rest room every 15 minutes to check on Fiachra and another child. Between the times of 3 p.m. and 3.15 p.m., she heard no unusual noises coming from the baby monitor.

After this time, when she checked through the window, she observed that Fiachra had his head stuck in the bars of the cot. When she went inside, she found that the cot had given way on one side.

She tried to perform CPR.

In a deposition from creche owner Priscilla Flanagan, Castlebridge, the court heard that at this time in 2014, it was the longest period that they had ever gone without a HSE spot check.

She phoned Fiachra's mother Elaine and told her what happened. When the ambulance arrived, Priscilla travelled with Fiachra to the hospital with her husband and two paramedics.

Pricilla also told the court that the cot Fiachra was in was only 12 years old and had been used by her own children.

Dr Sean Nixon said that the cot was examined by a specialist and that it was determined that, while modifications to the cot were poor, they were not unreasonable.

It was said that more careful use of such cots was necessary in the creche along with vigilant tightening of bolts. The cause of Fiachra's death was determined as asphyxia.

Dr Nixon recommended the jury bring in a verdict of accidental death which they did.

A statement from Fiachra's parents said that they would like to thank friends and family for support. They recommended that during HSE inspections, there should be detailed inspections of all creche cots. They also said that it was important that the message gets out to parents to maintain their cots.

Sympathy was extended to Fiachra's parents for their tragic loss and to the creche staff who the court heard, suffered terribly.

Wexford People