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GRIEVING FAMILY IN FIGHT TO BAN COT BUMPERS.

Byline: JASBIR AUTHI Staff Reporter jasbir.authi@trinitymirror.com

AD E VA S TAT? ED Midlands family is calling for a ban on the sale of cot bumpers - claiming their nine-month-old son was strangled.

Tragic Preston Brian was found with a cot bumper wrapped twice around his neck on September 11, despite his parents insisting that it had been correctly tied to the cot.

"I thought it was there to protect him from breaking his bones or bumping his head on the cot bars," said full-time mum Lisa Gee, 26. "We never thought for a second that it would harm him.

"There was no warning on the cot bumper and nobody told us about any dangers. It was fitted correctly and tied properly. How could something like this ever have happened?" Lisa, who has two other children - eight-year-old Dylan and Temari, who is nearly two - described Preston as an 'energetic, happy, smiling baby'.

"His death has destroyed me," she said. "I will never get over it. But I have to be there for my other children.

Temari was a bit too young to understand but Preston's death really affected Dylan. He cries a lot and tries to bottle up his feelings."

Lisa and partner Cuc Brian, 23, from Shepshed near Loughborough, have decided to channel their loss into raising awareness to ensure such a tragedy does not happen again.

They have set up a 'Justice For Preston' Facebook page and are using Twitter to raise awareness.

A friend, Natalie Kent, has also set up an e-petition after hearing of their plight. It currently has around 1,800 names but will need 100,000 signatures to get it raised in Parliament.

"Warnings about cot bumpers still aren't being put out," said Lisa. "There are so many people who don't know that they can be dangerous and we need to do the right thing by raising awareness.

"We are grieving but I can't let it go - some good has to come out of it.

"It gives me another reason to get up in the morning and fight for Preston. It's something I can still do for him."

To support their claims, the Justice For Preston group has posted links to evidence provided by the American Academy of Paediatrics.

Its research findings state: "There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment."

And a report in the Journal of Paediatrics found that 27 American children under two suffocated between 1985 and 2005 after becoming wedged against a padded bumper or being strangled by a bumper tie.

The city of Chicago and state of Maryland in the US have already banned cot bumpers as a result.

Makers dispute the concerns and, in the UK, no formal advice exists on their use.

"We are finding that most people are supportive of our stance," said Lisa. "They are saying that they have taken the cot bumpers down.

"We hope to get the 100,000 signatures so that the petition can be read in Parliament. We would like the UK to become the first country to ban cot bumpers altogether."

To sign the petition visit http://epetitions.direct. gov.uk/petitions/54991

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Tragic Nine-month-old Preston Brian.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Dec 1, 2013
Words:542
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