Everyone knows that babies spend most of their time sleeping. That makes the task of choosing a crib is an important consideration for any parent to be. It’s easy to get sidetracked by style and color but the most important thing to think about is safety. Fortunately most new cribs on the market these days comply with both mandatory and voluntary safety standards. You may run into problems if you are looking at used or hand-me-down cribs, so it’s wise to keep some things in mind when choosing a crib.
For a list of all cribs recalled in the United States click here. It’s wise to check this list before using an older cribs. Avoid any crib with drop sides as they can pose a suffocation hazard. They have been banned starting in mid 2011. Here are the current safety standards:
– Slats must be placed no more than 2 3/8″apart. This will prevent a child’s head from becoming trapped between the bars.
– No cut out designs in the headboard or footboard where a child hands or feet might get stuck.
– No corner posts. Clothing can get attached to a post and strangle or injure a child.
– Make sure your crib has lead free paint. Older cribs might have lead paint which can lead to lead poisoning if a child chews or gnaws on the crib. Avoid any crib with cracked or peeling paint.
Even with purchase of a safe crib there are some safety hazards that you should watch out for:
1 – Read and follow the directions carefully. Make sure all the joints and parts fit tightly and that the wood is free of splinters.
2 – Ensure that screws and bolts are tightly secured on a weekly basis. Give the crib a good shake to see if it wobbles or rattles. An active child can loosen the structure which can lead to collapse. If you need replacement parts, be sure to order them from the manufacture. Don’t substitute parts from the hardware store. Refrain from using the crib in the interim.
3 – Keep your crib clear of extra blankets and stuffed animals. While cute and cuddly, they can pose a suffocation risk to your child. Crib bumpers are also not necessary.
4 – Use a mattress specifically designed for your crib. You should not be able to fit more than two fingers in the space between the mattress and crib.
5 – Place your crib far from any blinds or drapes. A child can easily strangle themselves on the cords.
6 – Place your crib (or any other furniture) far from windows to prevent a serious fall.
7 – When your child reaches 35 inches in height, it’s time to retire the crib and move onto a toddler bed (usually between the ages of 2 and 3).
8 – Help prevent any tumbles from the crib by lowering your child’s mattress when it’s appropriate. Start lowering the mattress when your child is able to sit and move to the lowest position when your child can stand.
Your child’s safety is always top priority. Keep your child safe and put your mind at ease by sticking to these safety guidelines.