Baby girl, 1, suffocates after falling head-first into box at the end of her bed

Ellie-Rose Siddall was found upside down in a box full of clothes 14 hours after she was last seen by her parents

A coroner concluded Ellie-Rose Siddall died from accidental death (image: Blackpool Gazette)

A baby girl suffocated to death after falling head-first into a box at the end of her bed, an inquest heard.

One-year-old Ellie-Rose Siddall became wedged upside-down in a fabric box full of clothes and died there sometime between 4pm on February 7 and the early hours February 8 2019.

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She was found by her mum, Louise Siddall, at around 8am, Blackpool Gazette reports.

Louise called 999 but was “hysterical” and handed the phone over to Ellie-Rose’s dad, Luke Dowling, who told services that his daughter was dead.

‘She was very, very upset’

Paramedic Brent Kenny described the scene as “extremely chaotic” when he arrived there shortly after 8.05am.

He said: “Mum was outside, she was screaming, she was very, very upset, screaming that her baby had died.”

At an inquest at Blackpool Town Hall, the court heard that Ellie-Rose had been “restless” the day before her death and had missed two naps, which Miss Siddall put down to a cold and teething pain.

Not checked on until next day

She was given a dose of Calpol and put to bed at either 4pm or 5pm. Her bedroom door was closed and she was not checked on by anyone until 8am the next day.

Pathologist Dr Alison Armor determined the 13-month-old had been dead for several hours before her body was found.

She said the cause of death was positional asphyxia, a form of suffocation which occurs when a person ends up in a position which restricts their breathing.

Mr Kenny, who was the first paramedic to arrive at home on Marton Drive, said: “When I went in, dad was in the kitchen... I asked dad where the baby was and he said upstairs. I don’t know if that was upset or anger, but it was very short.”

He went upstairs and searched for Ellie-Rose before eventually finding her laid on her back on her bed, where she had been placed by Miss Siddall.

He wrapped the baby’s body in a blanket and took her downstairs to the ambulance.

Neither Miss Siddall nor Mr Dowling wanted to accompany their daughter to the hospital.

‘Extremely chaotic’

Mr Kenny said: “The scene was extremely chaotic. I wanted mum to come to the hospital so we could talk to her. I don’t think it was the case that she didn’t want to come, I think she couldn’t come. It was just too much.

“I went out to the ambulance. Mum was still outside, hysterical. I think dad was still in the kitchen or that area.

“It was just absolutely manic. I got to the ambulance and placed (Ellie-Rose) on a stretcher, where I did an ECG, which was to back up my findings that she was deceased.”

When quizzed by coroner Alan Wilson about whether it was normal for paramedics to have to search the property for Ellie Rose, instead of being informed of her whereabouts by her parents, he said it was unusual. He said: “I felt dad could have given more assistance. I don’t think mum would have been capable of it. She was too distressed.”

Unsafe sleeping environment

Handing down a conclusion of accidental death, Mr Wilson said: “In my opinion, this girl managed to get into a head-down position in that box, and with minimal strength was unable to extracate herself, and subsequently died of positional asphyxia. It’s my view that this little girl had been dead for a number of hours before her body was found.”

He added: “Ellie-Rose was found approximately 14 hours after she was last seen. Had she been sleeping in a cot, then she would have been unlikely to get got into the position in which she was found. I form the view she was in an unsafe sleeping environment.

“I also feel that her recent illness was relevant as it contributed to mum’s thinking that night - as Ellie hadn’t had her usual sleeps - about how long she should really leave this child for before checking on her... Although I don’t feel this can fully explain why this child was left for that length of time.”

Miss Siddall refused to answer the coroner’s questions about why she did not check on her daughter for 14 hours under her rights not to incriminate herself.

Ellie-Rose’s father, Mr Dowling, did not attend the inquest. A spokesman for Blackpool’s Voice, Brian Perry, said it was believed he had moved to Ireland and could not be located despite the charity’s efforts. Mr Wilson said the court had received no contact from him.

Heart-breaking period since daughter’s death

A statement on behalf of Ellie-Rose’s mother said: “Miss Siddall has had a heart-breaking and trying period since her daughter’s sad death.

“She is receiving support and wishes that the press now leaves her alone to take in the coroner’s findings but above all to now find some comfort in the closure, and now be left alone to grieve properly for her daughter.”

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