Arizona mother Alison Johnson went about her day like any other. She put her twins down for naps in their adjacent cribs, and she carried on, as always. Before long, Johnson heard crying coming from her twins’ bedroom. As she rushed to see what caused the commotion, she discovered that one of her children had crawled out of his crib and wedged himself in the small crack between the two. His body fit through the crevice, but his head didn’t—leaving him dangling, trying to hold himself up. Johnson made it in time to rescue him, but she knew things could have gone more tragically had she timed it any differently, and she rushed to Facebook to educate other mothers about her harrowing experience.
Johnson had baby-proofed her house like any other parent, but she never suspected this common crib set-up could lead to such an incident. She also knew of many other parents who had designed their babies’ rooms similarly, so she wanted to prevent other potential tragedies.
“I have a lot of friends that have twins or kids close in age that may have a similar set up, so I wanted to share something VERY scary that happened today,” Johnson wrote on Facebook. “This morning I put Caleb down for his nap. Shortly after, he started to cry. After a few minutes, I went in to check on him. He had climbed out of his crib and was stuck between his crib and Libby’s crib. His body fit through, but his head wouldn’t. He was using every ounce of energy he had to hold himself up by his little arms. If they had given out, he would’ve just been hanging there by his head.”
Injuries are the leading cause of death in children under the age of 20. About 9 million children (0-19) go to the emergency room for injuries each year, and more than 9,000 of these injuries lead to death. Many parents—like Johnson—child-proof their homes in attempts to make them safer. But as her story shows, even the simplest room set-up can be a potential cause for disaster.
“What’s even more scary is that like many moms, I generally use nap time as an opportunity to shower,” Johnson continued. “Had I done that today and checked on him after five minutes, he would have literally hung himself. When baby-proofing, I never in a million years would have seen this as a potential danger. Please consider sharing this post in case someone you know may have a similar set up. It’s incredibly heartbreaking to think of what the outcome could have been today. I’m still totally shook up over it and don’t think the vision of him stuck there will ever leave my head.”
So far, the post has been shared more than 50,000 times. Johnson wrote a follow-up post saying that she’s been pleasantly surprised by the overall supportive response she’s received on her post. Though the mother prepared herself for mean comments from Internet trolls, she said she actually received very few. Most of the replies thanked Johnson for sharing the useful information so they could avoid similar incidents with their own kids.