Coronial inquest examines Perth toddler’s drawer death

Stock image.
Stock image.

REEF Jason Bruce Kite was an active 22-month-old boy who liked to climb on things, but was supposed to be asleep in bed when his mother found him crushed under a large chest of drawers.

The toddler died on October 13, 2015 from “crush injuries” that caused asphyxia when the 1.25 metre unsecured wooden chest of drawers fell on him, the WA Coroner’s Court heard today.

Counsel assisting the coroner Sergeant Lyle Housiaux said Reef’s parents had purchased the drawers from a local pine furniture store in September 2012, but it did not include safety instructions or an anti-tipping safety device.

“It was also not the practice of the retailer to advise customers, who purchased this type of furniture, of the dangers of tipping,” he said.

“Various associations recommend that this type of furniture and large televisions should be secured from tipping.”

The court heard Reef’s mother put him down for a sleep in his bedroom about 11.30am and when she checked on him two hours later he was sleeping soundly.

When Reef’s mother returned to the bedroom at 2.45pm, she found the chest of drawers had fallen onto the floor on top of Reef and he was not breathing.

Sgt Housiaux said the mother ran to a neighbour for help and they began CPR but Reef did not respond.

Reef was rushed to Princess Margaret Hospital by ambulance but could not be revived.

“One of the main purposes of the inquest is to raise public awareness about the dangers of unstable furniture which is not secured to a wall and is within the reach of children,” Sgt Housiaux said.

Coroner Sarah Linton will hand down her findings at a later date.

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