Beds, Herts & Bucks

Furniture firm Baumhaus fined over head-trapping cot

Ophelia Conant in cot Image copyright Louise Conant
Image caption Ophelia Conant climbed backwards through the gap and trapped her head

A furniture company has been fined £12,000 and its boss given a suspended jail term after a 19-month girl trapped her head in a cot and was left hanging.

Ophelia Conant's head became trapped in a gap in the cot in April 2013.

Phillip Dickens, director of Oxfordshire-based Baumhaus, admitted two counts of placing an unsafe product on the market.

He also received a three-month suspended jail term at Amersham Crown Court.

Ophelia's head became stuck between the top of the end of the cot and a horizontal handle above it.

Her mother Louise, who lives in Buckinghamshire, saw the incident on a video monitor and was able to rescue her.

Image copyright Buckinghamshire Trading Standards
Image caption Ophelia Conant had minor injuries as a result of getting her head trapped
Image caption The product recall was believed to have cost Phillip Dickens (left) and Baumhaus about £350,000
Image copyright Louise Conant
Image caption Two hundred cots were recalled, but 12 were unaccounted for

Ophelia suffered only minor injuries, the court heard.


Ms Conant said: "I bought what I thought was the best, but it turned out to be a living hell.

"For a long time afterwards it gave me nightmares and it made me nervous about putting Ophelia to bed.

"The video monitor definitely saved her life."

Buckinghamshire County Council's trading standards said a similar incident took place in Northamptonshire nine days later.

The council said investigations on the Nutkin cot-bed showed failures in testing.

A prototype designed in the UK had passed inspections, but the prosecution said the product was manufactured in China and the imported versions had different dimensions.

The prosecution said there was no proper quality control for the product in the UK.

The company had recalled 200 cot-beds, but it was unable to trace 12.

Judge Karen Holt also awarded costs of £35,654 against Baumhaus and the two mothers were awarded compensation of £1,000 each.

The recall and dispute was believed to have cost the company, based at Upper Heyford near Bicester, about £350,000.

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