Not only is your babies crib a place where your little one will sleep, once your baby can move around, her crib and her bedroom will be the places where she will first try to explore without direct supervision most of the time.
In order for it your baby to move freely (and importantly for you to stress less when you leave your little one alone), its environment must be free from traps and dangers as much as possible.
Safety standards for baby furniture
When buying your babies crib, check that all furniture is up to date with the necessary safety standards and requirements appropriate for your baby’s age.
This is especially important with previously used, purchased, or gifted furniture. Old cribs, for example, may look beautiful, but the spacing between the bars rarely meets the current standard of 2 ⅜ inches (6 cm) or less, which is intended to prevent a baby’s head from being trapped.
Also, the finish may have old layers of lead-based paint which should be avoided as it presents a poisoning hazard.
New furniture can be trusted if it carries the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association Safety Certification Seal or the safety standards for baby furniture in your country. All fabrics used in your baby’s room (for example, bedding, sheets, and curtains) must be fire-resistant.
How to choose a safe crib
- The crib bars should not be more than 2 ⅜ inches (6 cm) apart.
- The mattress should be very firm and should not sag under your baby’s weight. It must fit snugly, with no space between it and the crib walls.
- The top of the crib rail should be at least 26 inches (66 cm) from the top of the mattress when in the lowest position. Periodically lower the mattress as your child grows.
- The headboard and footboard should be solid, with no decorative cutouts. Corner bars that may cause injury or snag clothing must be removed.
- Do not use cribs with rails that can be lowered. They are not safe.
- Padded crib bumpers may seem to help protect babies from drafts and shocks, but they should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that these padded protectors can prevent serious injury and pose a risk of suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment. Also, older babies can use them to climb out of the crib.
- Keep toys and large stuffed animals out of the crib, as your baby can use them to lift one leg over the railing. There should be no pillows, thick duvets, and heavy blankets in a crib; a baby can suffocate under them.
- Place the crib away from windows, where direct sunlight and drafts can make your baby uncomfortable. A crib can be uncomfortable from the heat if it is placed too close to a radiator. Also, make sure there are no blind or curtain cords nearby that could wrap around the baby’s neck.
- Once your child is about 3 feet (91 cm) tall, he should start sleeping in a bed. If you are concerned about your child falling out of bed, consider starting by placing the mattress on the floor.
- Put a firm mattress in your baby’s crib and make sure there is no gap between the mattress and the walls of the crib. Your baby should never sleep on a waterbed, sheepskin blanket, pillow, sofa, chair, or other soft surfaces. Thick blankets, down comforters, quilts, pillows, and large, soft stuffed toys should never be used in infant cribs; a baby can easily suffocate if caught under thick bedding or when his face is pressed against a pillow.
- Babies do not need extra support, such as rolled blankets or commercial devices, to support their back. Bulky materials like these will take up space in the crib and can be dangerous to a baby.
Did you have any other tips to share when it comes to choosing your babies crib?
Share your thoughts and knowledge with our other new moms in our comments below.