Over 2 dozen babies each day have some sort of crib related injury in the United States. These are injuries that can be prevented! Here are my top 6 ways to keep your baby safe in the crib:
Make sure your crib is up to standards
You may not be aware of this, but there are federal regulations put in place that dictate what crib manufacturers must do to make sure cribs are safe. Cribs are no longer allowed to have drop sides as of 2011, as they were banned by the United States Consumer Product and Safety Commission and manufacturers are subject to federal recalls often if their crib does not meet federal guidelines. Make sure your crib is not on a recall or a “do not buy” list. Additionally, if your crib is a hand-me-down or purchased at a second-hand store you’ll definitely want to inspect it extra carefully, because it may not have undergone the same testing as the cribs that were sold in the major chain stores.
Double check your crib hardware
Double check your crib hardware to make sure everything is up to specifications. The slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. There should be no giant holes or spaces, like wood cut outs or decorations, because your baby can get his head stuck and either break his neck or suffocate. You should also check for splinters, screws that aren’t screwed in properly, crooked nails, brackets or hardware that might be jutting out, and any other elements that may pose harm or injury to baby.
Make sure you have the best crib mattress and that it fits properly
If you’re not sure which crib mattress is best, check out this list of top rated and reviewed crib mattresses for 2017. Generally, crib mattresses should be between 27 5/8” in width and 51 3/4 to 53 inches in length, although the bare minimum accepted standard size for a crib mattress is 27 1/4 by 51 5/8 inches. The mattress itself should be no thicker than 6 inches, and it should be properly seated between the crib walls. If you can fit more than two fingers between the crib and the mattress around any point of the mattress, your baby is in danger and the mattress needs to be bigger so it achieves a tighter fit.
Only use minimal bedding for baby
Your baby probably looks uncomfortable lying on a sheet without anything else, but that’s what is appropriate for your baby. We spoil ourselves with extra pillows, throws, stuffed animals, and anything else that seems comfortable, but the truth is that’s all a choking and suffocation hazard for baby. The proper set up for your baby’s crib is one crib mattress and one crib sheet pulled tightly over the mattress, that’s it. If your baby seems cold, or uncomfortable, you can swaddle her or use a sleep sack. Anything else puts baby at risk for suffocation.
Make sure your baby sleeps face up
SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the cause of many babies dying in their cribs, in their sleep. This is a horrible and tragic thing but you can lessen or even prevent your chances of something happening to baby by making sure you follow all of these instructions. When you place baby in the crib, he should always be face up and on his back. A common misconception is that baby may be more comfortable in the fetal position, but the truth is that baby cannot turn over at this point for a reason. Make sure he sleeps on his back to avoid the risk of SIDS.
Get rid of anything dangerous around the crib area.
Mobiles, lamps, mattress pad ties, and anything with strings or wires can pose a choking or strangulation hazard for baby. Make sure all cords, ties, and cables are tied extremely securely and well out of reach for baby. Blinds and curtains should be far enough away to not be able to be grabbed, and the family pets should be restricted from climbing on the crib or bringing items into the crib. When baby is old enough to start to crawl and stand, you should remove the mobile so she cannot reach it and chew or bite on it.
Crib safety can be a very scary thing—- it’s extremely common for mothers to stay up all night worried watching the monitor because they can’t hear baby breathing. It’s something that everyone goes through, but as long as you follow these simple tips and take all of the proper precautions you and your child will both be able to sleep like a baby!