A 10-month-old boy was found strangled yesterday in his crib, apparently after becoming caught in a toy tied to the corner of the crib, Prince George's County police said.

The boy's mother, Yasmin Eastwood of 5310 Barnabas Rd. in Temple Hills, discovered the baby when she went to check on him yesterday morning, Homicide Det. John San Felice said. He said the mother was concerned because the baby, Steven Ray Eastwood Jr., had not awakened her as usual. She had last checked on the baby at 3 a.m.

The baby was taken to Greater Southeast Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:05 a.m. An autopsy is scheduled today.

The toy, composed of three stuffed dolls shaped like gingerbread men, was manufactured by Johnson & Johnson Baby Products and arrived in the mail about four months ago, the child's father, Steven Ray Eastwood, said.

Nancy Musco, a registered nurse with Johnson & Johnson, said the toy, called "Soft Triplets," was designed to be stretched across the crib until the baby reaches 6 months. After that, she said, "we ask that it not be used as a crib toy because the babies are going to be more active and moving around."

Instead, she said, parents are told in an accompanying pamphlet to take the dolls apart and let the baby play with them individually.

Musco said the company had no reports of similar incidents involving the toy, part of a mail-order program in which the company sends a series of toys geared to the baby's stage of development.

"We've never had anything like this happen," she said. "Needless to say, we're terribly upset."