The crib should be the safest, most secure place in the world for your new baby. She will likely spend a good deal of her first two years of life there, and it should represent a relaxing environment where she can rest. She’s going to be doing a lot of growing over her first couple of years, and all that growing up requires a lot of shut eye. Here are some tips for making your baby’s sleep environment as safe as it can be:
- Make sure that the crib mattress is firm. Spongy mattresses are not safe for baby to sleep on.
- Use a new crib if you can, or at least one that has been manufactured recently. At all costs, resist the urge to use an antique crib. Many of them look great, but they were not built up to today’s safety standards.
- Make sure the slats on the crib are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. Any wider than that and baby could get his head stuck in between them.
- Avoid buying a crib with corner posts. Baby’s clothing can get caught up on the pots, especially when he’s older and starts standing up. If your crib does have posts protruding above the side of the crib, remove them if possible.
- Make sure the side rails on your crib have at least two working locking mechanisms. As babies get older, they could accidentally release one of the mechanisms. Having a second latch can help prevent an accident.
- Make sure that the mattress is set to the right height. Until baby starts trying to roll around, you can leave the mattress at its highest setting, but as soon as baby starts wiggling and looking like she might turn over onto her tummy by herself, it’s time to drop the mattress to the middle setting. And when she can sit on her own, it’s time to drop it all the way down.
- Don’t put much in the crib with baby. Generally, only a fitted sheet and the blankets he is wrapped in. Blankets should be snugly wrapped around baby with his head uncovered. Avoid putting toys in the crib with baby until he is at least six months old.