A San Diego mom’s Facebook post has gone viral after she shared a photo of her twin babies’ cribs to urge other parents to not make the same mistake.
“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 alongside the picture of 18-month-old Caleb’s and Libby’s cribs placed together, with only a small space between them. She revealed that Caleb began to cry shortly after she put him down for a nap, and when Johnson checked on him, she found “he had climbed out of his crib and was stuck between his crib and Libby’s crib.”
The shaken mom went on to say that Caleb “was using every ounce of energy he had to hold himself up by his little arms” and “if they had given out, he would’ve just been hanging there by his head.”
Any parent will relate to what Johnson has gone through. Mistakes are easily made, and many of us have had close calls we’d rather not remember. By sharing her experience on social media, she’s reached thousands of people who might have a similar setup in their own kids’ room.
Professional advice on the safest sleeping arrangements for twins varies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that separate sleep areas are provided for twins and other multiples, and that co-bedding should be avoided (both in the hospital and at home).
However, a 2012 study into sleeping arrangements in families with twins found that co-bedding twins was commonplace, at least in the early weeks and months. Over 65 percent of twins were co-bedded at 4 weeks; this decreased to approximately 42 percent by 13 weeks of age.
A 2006 study carried out in the U.K. by Professor Helen Ball from Durham University found that there were advantages of co-bedding twins, including synchronous sleep patterns. Ball’s research found no evidence of twins disturbing each other, overheating or suffocating.
Pediatrician and author Dr. Sears says, “Newborn specialists have long observed that twins placed together in the same incubator or bassinet while in the hospital tend to breathe better and grow faster.” Sears recommends co-bedding twins until “babies reach around 6 months of age and start moving around more at night.”
If you do decide to co-bed your twins in the early weeks or months, it’s important to follow these key guidelines:
- Place twins side by side in a cot only in the early weeks, when they can’t roll over or onto each other. They should not be close enough to touch and potentially obstruct each other’s breathing.
- Never place pillows, rolled-up towels, cot dividers or anything else between the twins.
- Start sleeping twins at opposite ends of their cot from the beginning — that is, each one in the feet-to-foot position with their own separate bedding firmly tucked in.
- When twins are able to roll, move them to their own sleep areas to prevent one obstructing the breathing of the other or causing an accident.
- Don’t place twins in the same Moses basket, even when very small, because a Moses basket isn’t large enough for two babies to sleep safely.
Additionally, as Johnson’s experience shows, when your older twins are in separate cribs, make sure the cribs are placed far enough apart that a baby is not able to become trapped between them.
Little Caleb’s story is a reminder that as much as we try to stay one step ahead and eliminate every possible danger to our children, it’s perfectly normal to miss things. Hopefully his mom’s message will reach those in a similar situation.
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