WKYT - Lexington - Headlines

Keeping your children safe at home

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Word of a little Lexington girl's death came as a shock to many. Police say three-year-old Kylee Mills Simmerman was found by a firefighter unresponsive in her room. Kylee's grandfather, State Representative Terry Mills, D-Lebanon, said the girl was found inside her bean bag chair.

The coroner says she died of suffocation.

While her family is left mourning and facing the difficult task of burying their young child, many are asking how could this have happened.

Lt. Keith Smith of the Lexington Fire Department could not comment directly about Kylee's death but did explain the dangers of a bean bag chair.

"Basically the little beads inside of it, they're choke hazards, they (children) suffocate in them. They inhale them through the thing if they're not properly zipped up and kept closed."

While we don't know if that's how Kylee suffocated, it is a common way other children have died as a result. According to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report, in 1995 there were five children that died after crawling inside the bean bag chairs and died of suffocation. That lead to new safety regulations the following year.

However, Lt. Smith urges parents to take note, there are many things that may seem harmless but can be dangerous to a small child.

"The dryer being open, especially with a younger child just starting to walk, we don't think about closing it," he described.

Lt. Smith goes on to add pool covers can be a dangerous trap, along with plastic bags, and exposed outlets. But even more alarming for some, is that a simple dry wall bucket can be a deadly because they're designed not to tip over.

"Dry wall buckets, obviously if the top is left off of it or if water has collected in it, if a child is fascinated they can see themselves and play in it they can go in head first. If there is water in it, they can drown," explained Lt. Smith.

While most household items come with warnings or even child safety measures, Lt. Smith says that may not be enough.

"Nothing can take the place of supervision."

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, the leading cause of death for children ages one to four in the U.S. is by unintentional injury. It's followed by birth defects and homicide.

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