Child died after getting head caught in crib rails

From staff reports

Preliminary autopsy results indicate a 11⁄2-year-old; Mazeppa boy died of accidental strangulation after getting his head and neck caught in the rails of his crib.

Koal William Berentsen was found dead in his home Wednesday and attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

"The autopsy verifies our original impression," Wabasha County Coroner Dr. Daniel Pesch said Thursday.

Koal's crib had slatted sides, Pesch said. "The long side was pushed against the wall, and on the left lower corner down by the mattress, the crib wasn't pushed right up against the wall. There was some space there so he was able to push that slat out."


Pesch said some sort of bolt or other fastener was missing, allowing Koal to push the slat out 4 or 5 inches with his head and "get his head caught in that corner between the slatted side and the headboard on the end."

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, about 30 babies die each year because of problems with cribs. In 1973, crib manufacturers were required to make cribs that had slats no more than 23⁄8; inches apart, so close that babies could not get their heads between them.

Cutouts in the headboard or footboard also are not allowed.

The commission suggests parents destroy cribs with slats too far apart or with broken parts.

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