Toddler drowns in bath after being left briefly by mum collecting towel

A toddler drowned in a bath after her mother briefly left her unattended to get a towel, an inquest heard.

Mia Olivia O’Sullivan, who was 22 months old, slipped under the water and died after being left for “one minute”.

Despite her mum’s efforts to try and resuscitate her, as well as the work of paramedics and hospital staff, the little girl tragically died.

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A coroner recorded a conclusion of accidental death at an inquest in Ruthin on Tuesday, NorthWaleLive reports.

The inquest heard how Mia’s mum Joely Eastham-Jones had voluntarily given a statement at Llandudno Police Station.

John Gittins, coroner for North Wales Central and North Wales East, said the statement described how Mrs Eastham-Jones had given her daughter a bubble bath at their home in Marine Road, Colwyn Bay, at 4.50pm on January 17 last year.

After five minutes she asked Mia if she wanted to come out. Mia would normally put up her arms to be lifted out but she didn’t and “carried on playing with the bubbles”.

Mr Gittins said Mrs Eastham-Jones “realised there were no towels” as they were with the clean washing in the bedroom.

“She said: ‘Mummy’s going to get towels’ and left the bathroom. “She could hear Mia talking and singing in the bath next door. She shouted [Mia’s] name to confirm she was there.

“Then a pink brush she had been playing with banged on the side of the bath. She ran in and found her lying face-down in the water.

“She lifted her out. She was pink and floppy and not breathing.”

As painful as these proceedings are for those who have lost a loved one the lessons that can be learned from inquests can go a long way to saving others’ lives.

Toddler drowns in bath after being left briefly by mum collecting towel

The press has a legal right to attend inquests and has a responsibility to report on them as part of their duty to uphold the principle of open justice.

It’s a journalist’s duty to make sure the public understands the reasons why someone has died and to make sure their deaths are not kept secret. An inquest report can also clear up any rumours or suspicion surrounding a person’s death.

But, most importantly of all, an inquest report can draw attention to circumstances which may stop further deaths from happening.

Should journalists shy away from attending inquests then an entire arm of the judicial system is not held to account.

Inquests can often prompt a wider discussion on serious issues, the most recent of these being mental health and suicide.

Editors actively ask and encourage reporters to speak to the family and friends of a person who is the subject of an inquest. Their contributions help us create a clearer picture of the person who died and also provides the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one.

Often families do not wish to speak to the press and of course that decision has to be respected. However, as has been seen by many powerful media campaigns, the input of a person’s family and friends can make all the difference in helping to save others.

Without the attendance of the press at inquests questions will remain unanswered and lives will be lost.

The coroner said the statement told Mrs Eastham-Jones placed Mia on the floor and performed CPR and after four or five compressions the toddler vomited water and sick.

Mrs Eastham-Jones dialled 999 and paramedics arrived within five minutes and Mia was taken to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. From there Wales Air Ambulance flew her to the Royal Stoke University Hospital (RSUH) in Stoke-on-Trent.

In a statement Dr Mark Bebbington, a consultant paediatric intensive care specialist at RSUH, said he had been told Mia “was left in the bath for approximately one minute-plus by her mother”.

Despite medical help being given, including oxygen and adrenaline, Mia died at 3.03am on January 18.

Dr Jo McPartland, a paediatric pathologist at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital on Merseyside, carried out a post-mortem examination on Mia, which found there was ischaemic damage to the brain, kidneys, and heart. She said the cause of death was multiple organ failure consistent with drowning.

Concluding it was an accidental death, the coroner said: “She was left for a very, very short time by her mother in the bath and sadly the circumstances which occurred thereafter were those which resulted in her passing.”

He added: “I would like to record my very sincere condolences to the family of Mia in her tragic loss.”