Preston’s Story


Preston died when he rolled out of a sleep positioner and against the bumper in his crib. He was seven weeks old.

Submitted by his mother

On April 8, 2010, my life and the life of my family changed forever. My seven-week-old son whom I was completely smitten with was found dead in his crib. No words can describe the events of that day, and the way they replay in my mind every day. After a very independent daughter who had just turned two in January, it was a natural addition to our family when Preston arrived in February. He was a snuggly, lovey and easy baby. Preston and I did everything together; he even went to work with me. He was held and loved by many.

Preston was placed in a Sassy Sleep Positioner in his crib with the baby monitor on full blast. That night, my husband had let me go to bed early and he was the one who placed Preston to bed. When we woke in the morning my husband immediately went to check on him — the scream that came out of my husband will haunt me forever. Preston was found in the corner of his crib having smothered to death as we slept. Even though he was swaddled and placed in a positioner where we thought he was safe somehow he rolled out of the positioner and into the corner of the crib where he smothered on the bumper pad and the mattress.

No parent should have to see their child with no life in their body, no parent should have to perform CPR, no parent should have to re-live the incident with the state authorities, investigators, and the medical examiner. The products I used I fully thought they were going to protect my child, not harm him. I was an educated mother only wanting the best.

I am determined to join with other parents, grandparents and family members who have lost children to products that are being marketed as “safety” products that are in fact harmful and defective. My life has been turned upside down and I’ve lost most of what I had through this tragedy, but the products continue to be sold. CPSC and FDA did take action to issue a warning on sleep positioners, but there has been no action on crib bumper pads and no ban or recall on sleep positioners already in use.

Through this tragedy I have become more educated about baby products. In the state of Alaska, where this event occurred; I learned that the State will not license a daycare facility if they use bumper pads. It is against the law for caregivers to use bumper pads; however they are being sold to parents every day at retailers and across the internet. I have since learned of the other 12 deaths reported to the CPSC for sleep positioners and the 27 reported deaths due to bumper pads – number from 2005.

My question has to be why are these products sold to parents when these companies KNOW the risk? Parents must learn the dangers of these products and regulators must take steps to ban them. I vow to collaborate with safety groups and advocates to do whatever it takes to make sure these products are taken out of homes.

I wish everyday to smell my son’s neck, feel the lines on his feet, or feel him sleeping in my arms; but I can’t. I don’t want another family to lose a precious child due to sleep positioners or bumper pads. While I will grieve my son’s death — the death of my daughter’s brother, of the second grandchild for both sets of grandparents and on and on — I choose life. I must choose everyday to continue, to see the good in the day and be a mom and wife to the best of my ability. I know my precious son is being well taken care of where he is now and someday I will see him. My son’s life will always mean the world to me and my family, but in his death; I also choose to tell his story, as uncomfortable and heart wrenching as it may be, if it will save another precious, innocent baby’s life; it must be told.

For more information, check out:
Product Hazards: Crib Bumper Pads
Product Hazards: Sleep Positioners Safe Sleep Tips (PDF)