Child Safety: Crib Safety

9021739_lA defective crib, and even a poorly placed crib, can create fatal hazards for your baby. Federal safety standards for cribs changed in mid-2011, and by the end of 2012 day care centers, other places where children are cared for, hotels and motels were supposed to have upgraded to cribs meeting the new standards, but when your baby’s life is at stake, you never assume that other people are following the rules. Always check for yourself to make sure the crib your baby will use, at home and elsewhere, is safe.

Crib Recalls

You cannot rely on recalls to keep your baby safe, but you should check the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recall list on a regular basis to make sure that your crib has not been recalled. If it has, the manufacturer may replace the crib or correct the problem.

Choosing, Placing, and Using a Crib

  • Do not use a drop-side crib.
  • Slats should be no more than two and three-eighths inches apart, to prevent head entrapment.
  • The top of the crib rail should be at least 26 inches from the top of the mattress, to prevent falls.
  • The mattress should fit snugly with no space between the mattress and the side of the crib.
  • The mattress should be firm.
  • Avoid cribs with decorative cut outs, and with posts which stick up past the side rails. They can snag clothing, strangling your baby.
  • Do not place the crib near cord, such as cords for blinds, which can pose a strangulation hazard.
  • Keep the crib away from objects, such as lamps, that your baby can grab and pull over.
  • Keep the crib out of direct sunlight.
  • Avoid the temptation to put large stuffed animals, cushy pillows and blankets, or support devices in the crib. All of these can smoother your baby.