Crib safety is vital to learn about as a new parent! One of the biggest and most important purchases you make as a new parent is your baby’s crib. There are so many options on the market, you can choose almost any color, and there are multiple sizes and different styles. You will most likely do a ton of research to ensure you’re picking the right crib and to make sure that you’ve picked a safe crib.
Lucky for us, nowadays crib manufacturers are held to very high and very specific safety standards. Even if you pick the safest, top-of-the-line crib that is out there, there can still be hazards that lurk. Luckily these crib hazards are extremely preventable! Below I’ll go over the top 5 crib hazards and how to reduce the risk of having a hazard in your baby’s crib.
5 Crib Hazards and How to Avoid Them
1. Only A Mattress Designed for Cribs
Since crib manufacturers all have to follow a certain set of guidelines and standards, all cribs are designed with specific mattress supports to hold the same size mattress. There are many different types of crib mattresses you can purchase, but they will all be made of the same size. The most important thing to remember is that you need a standard crib mattress, one made especially for a crib (not a pack and play mattress, bassinet mattress etc.). A mattress that is not made specifically for a crib can be a suffocation or injury hazard.
2. No Bumpers
NEVER put bumper pads on your baby’s crib side rails. There is no evidence showing that bumpers around the crib sides prevent any kind of injury. There is loads of evidence directly from the American Academy of Pediatrics proving that bumpers are unsafe for babies and can be a huge safety risk Infant deaths have occurred due to suffocation from a crib bumper.
3. Empty Crib
The environment for safe sleep for your baby is an empty crib, well the mattress and the crib – that’s it! A crib mattress and tight-fitting sheet is all they need. As much as you might think they need it, never put a blanket or pillow in your baby’s crib. If you’re worried about them being cold, utilize a safe sleep-approved sleep sack or swaddle depending on their age. Along with leaving blankets and pillows out of your baby’s crib, do not put soft toys, stuffed animals or lovies in their crib either. Having anything at all in their crib can cause an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. Also, never use a sleep positioner in your baby’s crib. If you have any questions regarding your baby’s sleeping position, contact your pediatrician.
4. New Crib
It is really best to get a new crib for your baby. You can sometimes use one that was used by one of your other children if your first is ready to move to a new bed for example, but crib standards really changed in the past decade. In 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued new mandatory standards for cribs.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued five new key requirements for crib manufacturers. First, traditional drop-side cribs cannot be made or sold (immobilizers and repair kits are not allowed). Second, wood crib slats must be made of stronger woods to prevent breakage. Third, the crib hardware must have anti-loosening devices to keep it from coming loose or falling off. Fourht, the mattress supports must be more durable and safety testing must be more rigorous. Because of these new standards, older cribs manufactured before these changes were enacted are considered unsafe and put your baby at risk for injury or death.
5. Crib Location
When setting up your baby’s crib, think about the location and proximity to windows. Keep your baby’s crib out of reach of blinds or drapes/curtains. Window hangings of any kind can be a strangulation risk once your baby can move around more in their crib. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, window hangings can be a hazard to babies and young children until they are 6 years of age. Keeping your child’s crib away from access to any sort of window covering will help avoid this risk. Make sure that you’ve tightened any screws or bolts all the way in so there is no risk of them coming undone in the crib.
I know this list can seem overwhelming and scary. Focus on preventing these hazards to avoid any risk to your baby. If you have any questions about safe sleep feel free to reach out! I’m happy to help however I can.