When it comes to your baby, you take all sorts of precautions. That means making sure your carseat is installed properly. It means you check recall notices on baby’s toys. It means you keep an eye on your little one at all times, and that you read up on baby safety. One area of safety you might not naturally think about, however, is your baby’s crib.
According to a study just published in Pediatrics, some startling information about crib safety is coming to light. Researchers at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital located in Ohio put together information about crib-related injuries over three decades, from 1990 to 2008. What they found was staggering:
Approximately 181,654 children under the age of two were treated in emergency rooms in the United States for injuries that they received from their playpen, bassinet or crib. Crib injuries were by far the most common. Of the different types of crib injuries, falls topped the list as most common.
This is the first study of its kind, and the things that researchers are learning from it is significant. For example, in 90 percent of crib injury cases, the child was alone. Injuries typically affected the baby’s head or neck. Out of all of the injuries, 2,140 died as a result. Generally¸ death resulted from being trapped or wedged in the crib.
Another useful piece of information from this study is that crib injuries rose as the age of the child rose. Researchers aren’t yet certain why this is, although they have some theories. The speculation is that, as a baby gets the ability to pull herself up and then climb on or over the edge of the crib, the risk of injury increases. Prior to being able to climb, babies aren’t likely to fall out of the crib unless there is a structural problem with it.
There are some things you can do to reduce the risk of falling. The mattress height should be adjusted lower as soon as a baby starts being able to pull himself up. Some children will literally learn to stand overnight. You should watch your child’s behavior in the crib, and realize that an infant of even 3 months of age might be able to pull up.