Basic Crib Safety

Much of your baby’s first two years of life are going to be spent in her crib. Like any parent, you want to make sure that this important piece of baby furniture is a cozy, secure, and comforting place for your baby to be. Most important of all, you want to make sure that it’s a safe place for your baby to be. Most cribs being manufactured currently follow these safety guidelines, but check them anyway, just to be sure.

Make especially sure to check them if you are considering buying a used crib:

  • Make sure there are no cut outs on the side panels. These can snag clothing or limbs as baby gets old enough to reach them.
  • If the crib has corner posts, there should be level with the height of the end panels. The exception is canopy style cribs, in which case they are high enough that baby’s clothing will not get tangled on them.
  • Slats should be no wider than 2 3/8 inches apart. If the openings between slats are wider than that, baby could get his head stuck.
  • Ensure that the mattress fits snugly into the crib. You should not be able to fit 2 fingers between the mattress and the crib walls.
  • Make sure children cannot drop the drop sides. There should be a locking mechanism.
  • Ensure that the height of the crib sides is at least 26 inches above the mattress when the sides are at their full height, and at least 9 inches above the mattress when the sides are lowered.

In addition, here are some things you should check periodically regardless of what kind of crib you use:

  • Make sure baby’s mattress is firm. Never use soft mattresses for babies.
  • Check your baby’s crib frequently for chips, splinters, peeling paint, and loose parts. Fix problems immediately.
  • Make sure that your baby’s crib is away from window dressings, blind strings and other objects that baby could pull into the crib with him.
  • Make sure that the crib is at the right height for your baby’s development. Most cribs have 3 height settings. The highest is fine until baby can sit up. When baby starts trying to sit, move to the middle setting. When baby starts trying to stand, move to the lowest setting.