3-year-old girl's death inside bean bag was an accident, coroner says

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comNovember 26, 2012 

Kylee Mills Simmerman, 3, was found unresponsive in her home and later died at the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital on Wednesday September 12, 2012. Photo Provided

The death of a 3-year-old Lexington girl found suffocated inside a beanbag was an accident, said Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn.

Shortly after Mia Kylee Mills Simmerman's death in September, Ginn said the cause of death was asphyxia or suffocation. He said there were "no outward signs of trauma," but the coroner's report did not say whether Kylee's death was being considered an accident or a homicide.

Ginn said on Monday that the death of Mia, who went by Kylee, was an accident and that was noted on her death certificate last month.

Kylee died Sept. 12 after she apparently crawled inside a beanbag, possibly while playing hide and seek.

Just after 3 p.m. that day Kylee went missing at her home on Graviss Court, off Clays Mill Road near Man o' War Boulevard.

A half-hour search by police, firefighters, family members and neighbors ensued before a firefighter-emergency medical technician found Kylee inside the home in the beanbag.

Two police cars escorted an ambulance to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, but Kylee could not be resuscitated.

Kylee was the youngest grandchild of state Rep. Terry Mills, D-Lebanon.

On Monday, Ginn said he had never heard of a similar death in Lexington.

Beanbags with zippers were at the center of a public health scare in the 1990s, causing manufacturers to recall millions of beanbags, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The commission said in 1995 there had been five deaths from suffocation and at least 27 injuries caused by zippered beanbag chairs.

Ginn said the beanbag had a warning label indicating that such an accident could occur.

The coroner said he frequently speaks to community groups about the dangers of children suffocating as they sleep with their parents and other caretakers who roll over on them. In the future, Ginn said he will discuss the dangers of children playing with a beanbag.

"This is another suffocation that could happen," Ginn said.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter:@vhspears.

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