Cribs in the hospital: danger

After the death of a 5-year-old girl, found asphyxiated between the bars of her bed, in the hospital center of Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin), an investigation was opened. Failure to monitor or fail to regulate children's beds in hospitals? (News of 11/08/09)

  • Hospitalized in the pediatric ward of Mulhouse hospital, the little girl was found inanimate last July 31, the head stuck between the bars of her bed. The autopsy indicated that she died asphyxiated. Heavily disabled because of a genetic disease, the girl could neither speak nor walk. She could not report that she was choking.
  • The first elements of the survey show that the bed in which the child had been placed, would be the cause of the accident : a medical bed, with horizontal bars, too spaced for the size of a child of his age. To prevent a fall, cushions were placed on the side of the bed, between the mattress and the bars. A device that did not stop the girl from slipping. Fragile, she could not get away.

No standard for child bed rails over 3 years old

  • Regulations stipulate that children under 3 must be placed in "park beds" the space between the bars must be "less than or equal" to 65 mm. On the other hand, there is no standard, either European or international, that defines the specific criteria for designing bed rails for children over 3 years old. They are placed in adult beds. Until the age of 12, protective barriers are added. They do not seem really suitable for children.
  • According to the French Agency for Health Safety of Health Products (Afssaps), four deaths comparable to that of Mulhouse have already occurred, in 2005, 2007 and 2008. All these children suffered from heavy pathologies and were of little weight or short. Two years ago, Afssaps has initiated reflection work to define standards for barriers adapted to children over 3 years. When are the results?

Marie-Victoire Garcia

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