Bednest: Everything you need to know about the safety of the baby crib
The National Children's Trust stopped selling the popular co-sleeper back in April, but supported new and modified versions of the Bednest in July, however unmodified and "potentially dangerous" cribs are still being sold in second hand shops
What is a Bednest?
A free-standing baby co-sleeping crib that can be positioned next to an adult bed to allow mum or dad to sleep close to baby without the worry of the risks associated with sleeping in the same bed.
How does it work?
Both side panels of the Bednest cribs can be folded down flat to give you easier access to your baby when attached to your bed.
The panels, when lowered, lie flat with your bed surface and create a ‘SafeBridge,’ meaning there should be no gap between the crib and your bed.
The crib can also be height adjusted as it should match the exact height of your bed. As an extra feature, the crib can be titled.
What happened to Grace Roseman?
Earlier this year the National Children's Trust stopped selling the BedNest after finding a “small but plausible risk” of babies being injured or even dying when sleeping in the crib.
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This warning was issued after the trust commissioned independent experts to investigate the crib following the death of 7-week-old Grace.
She died after she had been put to sleep face down (the prone position) for a nap in a secondhand Bednest crib, with the side panel of the co-sleeper lowered half way.
Tests revealed a hazard that could allow babies to move onto or over the side of the crib, when the folding side of it is in the half-raised position.
As a result BedNest issued modifications to its new cribs that prevents the half-folding capability, and urged customers with older cribs to send off for modification kits that could fix the design flaw.
However a second hand, unmodified and “potentially dangerous” crib was found in an East Grinstead charity shop, leading the West Sussex County Council’s Trading Standards to issue a new warning to anyone who has bought or is selling a Bednest crib.
Parents and sellers are being urged to check their crib is the newer modification version by going to the Bednest website.
Grace’s parents had been given the cot by relatives and had bought a new mattress.
The side panel of the Bednest had been partially folded down at “about 7 cm” high and the cot tilted in a position at 8cm. This is higher than the recommended tilt of less than 5cm.
It appears that Grace managed to get her head over the side of the crib, and due to the weight of her head on the side of the cot, her air supply was restricted, which led to her death by asphyxia.
***UPDATE December 2016***
On December 17th West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield concluded the full inquest into the tragic death of baby Grace and recorded a verdict of accidental death. However, she issued a warning against parents using any co-sleeper with a partially lowered side.
"I do not want to create panic amongst consumers but while this review is being taken it's clear to me that infants under six months should not be left in any crib where the side has been partially lowered and death in these circumstances could occur in a matter of seconds. It would be irrelevant whether a baby was being supervised or not."
Grace's parents, welcomed the coroner's report, calling it a "huge relief", however, they say they are yet to receive a personal or direct apology from Bednest.
As a result of the tragic accident, the National Children's Trust (NCT) initially stopped selling the BedNest bedside crib and urged parents who used a Bednest Bedside crib not to leave their baby unattended in the crib when tilted or with the side incompletely lowered.
The childbirth and parenting charity also says parents must not to use the co-sleeper with the folding side in the half-way position.
Dangers of using a second-hand cot without instructions
One of the main issues around using second-hand baby equipment is that often the instructions are missing.
There are some warnings on the inside of the co-sleeper indicating that a baby should not be left unattended unless both sides of the Bednest are up and secure. But the instructions on the tilt function are only listed in the paper manual.
According to the West Sussex coroner this means that parents with secondhand Bednest but without instructions could be unaware of the risk.
“Should another baby be placed in the prone position and left with the side incompletely lowered again in one of these cots, another death could occur.”
The coroner questioned the need for having a partially lowered side and tilt functions in cribs.
“If the cot's side is not safe to be incompletely lowered or for the cot to be tilted more than 5cm then it should be questioned as to whether these should be options available at all."
The National Children's Trust (NCT), which used to sell the cot, and Bednest Ltd were both served with this report and urged by the coroner to take immediate action to avoid another death.
"In my opinion urgent action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you and/or your organisation have the power to take such action," the report read.
Reaction from the NCT
Following and NCT investigation involving a "distinguished Consultant Paediatrician and a leading furniture safety expert", the charity explained back in July that they had found a “small but plausible risk” with the cot when the folding side is in the half-way position. But it goes on to explain that using the crib with the folding side fully up (or fully down if bedside-sleeping) eliminates the risk.
After being contacted by MadeForMums in November 2016 the NCT has since confirmed that the modified cots do not pose the risks the older cots did.
"We have supported the modification which eliminates the risk that a baby could move onto or over the side of the crib. However, NCT does not currently endorse any product and does not have any plans to do so. This includes the Bednest crib."
Reaction from BedNest
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Grace Roseman and we extend our heartfelt condolences to her parents,” Bednest MD Mark Green said in a statement.
"All Bednests shipped by us since 30/11/15 have been modified whereby the side panel no longer functions in the half-fold position."
Bednest are also urging any parent who also has one of their cribs to make sure they use it according to the instructions.
“At Bednest, we fully support any publicity that highlights the importance for every baby product to be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions,” he said.
“Indeed our cribs have a non-removable warning label affixed to the uppermost side of the crib stating: ‘Failure to follow these warnings or the instructions could result in serious injury or death.’
“As detailed by West Sussex County Council, as a precautionary measure, Bednest made available a modification kit to address the concern raised by some experts in relation to the height of lowered side panels of bedside cribs.
“The modification kit has been made widely available and we welcome any efforts to widen the communication of its availability as well as the latest User Guide.
“This includes efforts in respect of second hand sales. Our immediate advice to parents who acquire a second-hand cot (or any second-hand baby product) without an instruction manual is to contact the manufacturer for a replacement copy before using the product.”
Green also says that as long as parents follow the instructions, all Bednests are safe to use.
“We are confident of the design and safety of the Bednest which has passed the latest rigorous UK and USA safety standards and which has been used by tens of thousands of parents.
“The Coroners interim report makes it clear as to the importance of following the manufacturer's instruction manual. We are confident that our Bednest customers can safely use the product and we will send a replacement instruction manual to anyone who requests one.”
“Anyone requiring a modification kit can find details of how to request one on the website and they can also download the latest User Guide.”
So what does this mean for you if your baby is sleeping in a Bednest?
- If you have an unmodified BestNest crib get a modification kit at www.bednest.com/FAQs
- Your baby will be safe as long as you follow the instructions. If you don’t have the instructions, or have mislaid them, download a copy here.
- Do not use the Bednest with the side partially down. If you leave your baby to sleep, both sides should be fully up and secure.
- Don’t tilt the Bednest by more than 4cm.
- Follow safe sleeping guidelines – for example, always put your baby down to sleep on his or her back, never face down.
Having been a journalist for 15 years – and Reviews Editor at MadeForMums for five of those – Hazelann has accrued a lot of experience testing and reviewing every baby product imaginable.
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