Authorities continue to investigate toddler's death

By Anna Yee
By Paul Strater

April 25, 2012 Updated Apr 25, 2012 at 10:25 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The family of one-year-old baby Ava is in mourning Wednesday, one day after a dresser fell over, killing her.

Police say Tuesday's death of a Peoria toddler does not appear to be suspicious, but the Peoria County Coroner's office, Peoria police, and DCFS are all continuing the investigation.

According to Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll, paramedics were dispatched to an apartment at 1700 Candletree Drive Tuesday afternoon.

This, after Amber Shiflet and her partner Lucas Greene allegedly found Shiflet's daughter Ava underneath a 3-drawer dresser, after putting her down for a nap.

Ava was pronounced dead at the scene.

Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll says Ava Shiflet died of compressional and positional asphyxia.

She was trapped under the dresser in a seated position bent forward at the hips with her face on her legs.
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A specialist at Peoria's Crittenton Center says that efforts to secure furniture from tipping over are a recent development

"It is definitely something that has come about in the past few years, to keep everything strapped to the wall or somehow strapped to the floor so something like that can't happen to such a little kid," said Rebecca Petentler, a family enhancement specialist at the Crittenton Center.

Dr. Richard Harris, Proctor Hospital's Attending ER Physician, says when an infant is injured, look out for these danger signs: loss of consciousness, repeated vomiting, altered mental status, or any visible signs of bruising or swelling.

"If any of those things happen, for sure they're going to come in," said Dr. Harris, "but even with little minor bumps, it's difficult to really assess a kid under 2 years old, and they should allow us to do it."

Dr. Harris says injuries, especially those to the head, are more common after children begin walking.

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