Choosing the Safest Crib for Your Baby
When you are choosing a crib for your baby, safety must be your priority. You might be tempted to buy a crib because of how cute it looks. But cute is only good if the crib conforms to modern safety standards.
Crib Safety Standards
Cribs bought from reputable stores will likely conform to all the relevant standards. However, some of the cheaper, imported cribs that you might find online may not be so safe.
If you buy a used or vintage crib, you must be especially careful. Older cribs will probably not have the correct spacing between slats on the sides of the crib. And old woodwork might be splintered or coated in dangerous paint that contains lead.
New cribs must conform to standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Older cribs, though, may not meet the latest codes. Since 2011, manufacturers are required to print the date of manufacture on the crib. So, if you have an older crib, you can check that it meets the latest guidelines.
Another way to be sure that a crib is safe is to look for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) safety certification seal. JPMA certification is a voluntary testing process that manufacturers can join, which certifies that baby products meet all the relevant safety standards.
Crib Safety Checklist
To help you choose the safety crib for your baby, here’s a crib safety checklist.
1. Ensure Space Between Bars or Slats No More Than 2 3/8 inches
The bars or slats of a crib should be spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. This spacing ensures that a baby cannot fall out of the crib or get its head stuck between the bars.
2. Sides of Crib Must be 26 Inches or More Above the Mattress
The raised sides of a crib should be at least 26 inches above the mattress in its lowest position. The 26 inches gap ensures that the baby cannot climb or fall out of the crib.
3. Avoid Cribs with Decorative Cut Out Headboards
Cribs with decorative headboards and footboards are best avoided. The baby could get its head, arms or legs stuck in decorative cut-outs. And when the baby becomes more mobile, cut-outs could be used to climb out of the crib. Solid headboards and footboards are best.
4. Avoid Cribs with Corner Posts Exceeding 1/16th of an inch
When choosing the safest crib for your baby, it is best to avoid models with corner posts that extend beyond the crib’s sides. Corner posts that exceed 1/16th of an inch could get caught on your baby’s clothing.
5. Choose a Firm Mattress
Babies don’t need a soft and sumptuous mattress. In fact, infants sell more soundly on a firm mattress. So, choose a crib mattress that will not sag under the weight of your baby.
6. Ensure the Mattress Fits Snugly
The mattress on a crib should fit tight against the crib walls, headboard, and footboard. If you can fit more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib’s walls, the mattress is too small. If the gap is too big, your baby could slip between the mattress and crib walls or get a hand or foot wedged between the two.
7. Do Not Use Cribs with Drop Sides.
Cribs with drop sides have been proven to be dangerous and have now been banned. Drop-side cribs were found to be less structurally sound than fixed-side cribs. The sides of these types of cribs can come apart. And a baby could get trapped in the gap between the sides of the crib.
8. Bare is Safest
The only bedding a baby needs are a waterproof pad and fitted sheet. So, don’t put toys, blankets, pillows, or any other bedding in the crib with your baby. Stuffed toys and bedding may cause a baby to overheat or suffocate. Keeping the crib bare is one of the most crucial precautions recommended to protect against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Although vintage cribs may look lovely, it is generally best to buy a new crib for your child. And following the above tips will help you when you are choosing the safest crib for your baby.
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