Your new baby is going to spend much of her first two years of life in his crib. It’s important that this is a soothing, safe and secure environment. The crib is arguably the most important part of your baby’s bedroom or nursery, so choose one with care and follow these safety tips:
- Don’t buy used cribs if you can help it, and don’t buy an antique crib at all. Older cribs may not be built to the safety standards that are recognized as necessary today. Cribs’ safety features have been developed steadily over the years, many times as the result of unfortunate accidents due to design flaws of earlier cribs. Additionally, older cribs may have lead based paint, splintering, sharp corners, slats that are too wide for safety and a number of other issues that make them less than ideal for baby.
- Position your baby on her back to sleep in her crib. This is the safest sleeping position for her.
- Do not put pillows, quilts or stuffed animals in the crib with baby. These all pose suffocation risks to babies, and should not be placed in a crib with him until after he is at least a year old.
- Check slat spacing on your crib. Crib slats should never be more than 2 3/8 inches apart from one another. This prevents baby from getting her head stuck between the slats on her crib. An easy way to check this is to use a 12 ounce soda can. If the can will fit through any of the holes, the slats are too widely placed and you should use a different crib.
- For younger babies, consider using a sleeper instead of blankets. If you do use blankets, tuck them in snugly and keep the blankets at baby’s chest level or lower.
- Avoid blankets that have excessive ribbons, bows, or other things that baby could get tangled in or choke on. If you do have blankets that have ribbons, and you opt to keep them, make sure that the ribbons are no longer than 8 inches, Any longer can pose a significant choking hazard.
- Make sure your baby’s mattress fits the crib. The mattress should fit in snug, with no room for baby to get her hands, feet, or head caught between the mattress and the sides of the crib. Also, use only fitted sheets designed for cribs.
- Make sure that baby’s crib is set at the proper height. Most modern cribs have 3 height adjustments. While it is fine (and more convenient) to use the highest setting for newborns, you should adjust to the middle setting when baby starts flopping around, and to the lowest setting before she is sitting up.