Riley’s Story


Riley was strangled when the side rail of her portable crib collapsed around her neck. She was 10 months old.

Submitted by her mother, Raedyn

My name is Raedyn and my daughter Riley was the 14th child to die in a portable crib/playpen. She was born on March 7, 2000. She joined my husband, Erik, her three-year-old brother Chase, and me to complete the “perfect family”. Riley was the best baby we could have ever hoped for. She was very good natured and slept through the night from day one. She was very outgoing. Wherever we would take her, she would babble and smile to get everyone’s attention. And if you wouldn’t smile back, she would just babble louder. You couldn’t help but fall in love with her.

Erik and I were both extremely protective of our children. I had been an EMT for 9 years, and I had taught first aid and CPR for almost as long before becoming a 911 dispatcher. We taught our 3-year-old not to leave little toys where Riley could get them. We taught him to never feed her potato chips because she could choke on them. I’m sure you get the picture. We thought everything in our house was perfectly safe for our children. In fact, I was so overprotective of my kids; they were never left with anyone besides grandparents or immediate family members.

When Riley started outgrowing her cradle, I started looking for a crib for her to sleep in. I really didn’t want to spend a lot of money since Riley was already over 6 months old, and we would be moving to our new house soon. If she was anything like her brother, we wouldn’t be able to keep her in one until her 1st birthday. A friend of the family loaned us a Baby Trend Home & Roam. Since they were made for babies and marketed as a portable crib, we started putting her to sleep in it. We had no problems with it and it looked perfectly safe. I know of at least 3 other kids that used it.

On January 1, 2001, I got ready to go to work for the graveyard shift as a 911 dispatcher. My aunt always came and stayed the night on Monday nights to watch the kids. That way my husband could get up for work in the morning, and I could come home and go to bed without worrying about the kids.

At 3:50 am on January 2, 2001, I received a call from my husband saying Riley wasn’t breathing. My aunt has gotten up to check on her since the baby monitor was quiet. She found Riley in the collapsed crib. CPR was started immediately and I dispatched ambulances to my home. It was too late. Riley was gone. My family was devastated. Later that day the coroner contacted us to tell us the crib has been recalled five years earlier. We never knew. We never had any reason to believe it was unsafe. The people that had loaned it to us never knew.

In the first 3 weeks after Riley’s death we found 21 recalled playpens in our county of under 4,000 people. I know I have written a lot, but this story needs to be told. Hopefully together we can make sure this doesn’t ever happen again. I don’t want anyone else to have to tell their 3 1/2 year old son that his sister and best friend is dead and never coming back again, because of her bed.

For more information, check out: Product Hazards/Portable Cribs