A one-year-old boy died suddenly on a family holiday in the Canary Islands from a severe chest infection just hours after spending the day happily playing in the pool, an inquest heard.
The family had jetted off for a sunshine break over Christmas to the resort of Playa de las Americas, in Tenerife, when tragedy struck on December 28.
Alfie Brown, of Bloomfield Street North, Halesowen, was seven days into the holiday with parents Stephanie Ballantine and Matthew Brown and grandparents when he died, Smethwick Coroners Court heard yesterday.
His mother told the inquest that Alfie showed no signs of being ill on holiday and had been well while developing and growing up.
She said: “It was completely sudden. I put him to bed the night before I found him. When he got put to bed there was nothing wrong with him. He had been in the pool all day enjoying his holiday.”
The coroner ruled the death was due to natural causes.
Pathologist Dr Philip Cox, of Birmingham Women’s Hospital, told an inquest at Sandwell Coroners Court yesterday that a series of tests had been carried out to try to establish the cause of the youngster’s death. He said he had wondered if Alfie had suffered the bacterial infection whooping cough but subsequently ruled that out.
Dr Cox, who carried out the post mortem, also dismissed any suggestions Alfie could have caught an ‘exotic’ infection while abroad. He gave cause of death as due to a combination of strains of bronchitis and bronchopneumonia.
“It was quite a nasty chest infection and it appears to have come on very quickly but was very widespread,” he said. “We didn’t actually manage to find precisely what the organism was that caused this infection.
“I don’t think that there was anything particularly exotic about the infection.
“I noticed that Alfie had his immunisation [for whooping cough]. In passing it was a possibility but there were other organisms that could do something like this. Given that it was a very quick illness that took Alfie, that’s probably why it was something like a bacterial infection.”
The family had jetted off for a sunshine break over Christmas to the resort of Playa de las Americas, in Tenerife, when tragedy struck on December 28 last year.
The inquest heard that Alfie, of Bloomfield Street North, had shown no signs of being ill on holiday.
Black Country senior coroner Robin Balmain said he was sorry for the young parents’ only child, adding: “It is terribly distressing for the family.”