(National) May 3, 2005 - In stores you see cribs with plush bumpers and fluffy blankets and toys. Also for sale, sleep positioners made out of foam. They're supposed to help babies sleep on their backs. But putting anything in a crib that's cushy can have tragic consequences.
Judy and Mark Sage love spending time with their children. Their daughter Jamie is eight months old. Their son, Jake, is three. Jake had a twin brother, Andy, but tragically he died in his crib when he was just two months old. The medical examiner said he was asphyxiated by a sleep positioner.
Judy said, "Even though he was positioned correctly with his head and shoulder above the device, he had head control so all he had to do was turn his head down. His nose and mouth were obstructed and he was too young to recognize he was endangered. He didn't have the sensation of suffocation. So he didn't know to pull his head back."
Consumer Reports' David Pittle says anything cushy is dangerous in a crib, "Our general advice is that the risk is too great to put a child around any kind of material that is soft, that could close off their air passage."
Plenty of other plush items are sold for cribs.
"You see how the beds are set up so beautifully with bumpers and blankets."
But, buyer beware - parents are being given the wrong message. Plush things like those do not belong in a crib.
"Our advice is to keep the crib bare. The only thing that should be in a crib is a sheet, a mattress, a child and a blanket."
The Sages are careful to do just that. They keep their eight-month-old's crib bare, something they wish they'd known when their twins were born.
"There is nothing worse than a parent having to attend the funeral of their own child, especially in a case where it could have been prevented," said Mark.
One more note for parents, you should not use a second-hand crib. Older cribs do not necessarily meet current safety standards, especially if they were made before June of 1999.