Alison Johnson had just put her 18-month-old twins down for their naps in their side-by-side cribs. A few minutes later, she heard her son crying. What she saw shortly after she went to check on him continues to traumatize her a week later.
Her son, Caleb, had climbed out of his crib and got stuck in the 6-inch crevice between the two cribs.
“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,” Johnson wrote in a Facebook post warning other moms of multiples. “If they had given out, he would've just been hanging there by his head.
"What's even more scary is that like many moms, I generally use nap time as an opportunity to shower. Had I done that today and checked on him after five minutes, he would have literally hung himself."
Caleb is now fine but the horrific scene she witnessed prompted Johnson, who also has a 6-week-old baby daughter, to share her story with hopes that it prevents a similar accident.
“I’ve received hundreds of notes from other twin parents thanking me because their nurseries were set up the exact same way," the 37-year-old Phoenix mother told TODAY. "They all said it was something they would never think of."
Johnson said she never “in a million years” would have thought the way she set up her cribs posed any kind of danger. Several people who identified themselves as representatives of child-safety companies also expressed surprise at what happened, reaching out to her via Facebook to learn more details.
Johnson said she and her husband have taken numerous precautions to childproof their home for both Caleb and his twin sister, Libby. The day Caleb got stuck between the cribs, however, was the first time he had crawled out of his bed.
"We had already lowered his mattress as far as it goes and he hadn’t been able to climb out up until that point," she said.
Since that day, the twins now sleep in cribs that sit on opposite sides of their bedroom with no other furniture immediately nearby.
“Even moms with one baby should be careful, because you often see a dresser or a changing table nearby,” Johnson said. “It wouldn’t even have to be two cribs.”
Johnson's original post has been shared about 50,000 times since it went up April 4. She said she's pleased it has raised so much awareness and, despite a few people calling her "an idiot," has been received so positively.
"It's worth the few negative comments if we possibly saved a life with this warning," she said. "Honestly, it was traumatizing to have that image stuck in my head."
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