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Baby Crib Safety Standards

Randi Reese |11, December 2007


Choosing a crib for your baby is the first of many important decisions you will make concerning your child. While shopping for the crib may be fun and exciting it should also be taken quite seriously. Each year many children are hurt or killed in their very own cribs. Crib safety standards have come a long way in the last thirty years but it's up to you as parents to ensure that the crib you choose isn't going to harm your little one.

Crib Design Safety

Cribs are designed with vertical bars or slats to keep the child safely contained inside. These bars can be too far apart and pose a possible threat to children if they get their head stuck. Vertical slats should be no more than 2+3/8 inches apart. All new cribs are built to meet this standard; however, to be sure you should always measure the crib.

The corner posts of the crib should be no higher than 1/16 inch above the end panels. This is so that the child can't get a loop of clothing accidentally caught on the ends. Choose a crib without cutouts on the ends as these can pose a threat for small hands and feet to become stuck. The top rails of the sides at their highest position should be at least 26 inches above the top of the mattress support at its lowest position.

Once the child can pull himself up to a standing position keep the mattress support on the lowest setting. You should stop using the crib once the height of the child is more than ¾ of the height of the raised rail. The drop sides of the crib should be latched securely and require at least ten pounds of pressure to release. Crib hardware should be smooth with no sharp points or protruding edges.

Crib Mattress Safety

The mattress itself is another safety concern. Choose a mattress that fits snugly into the crib. Cribs and crib mattresses are designed with specific sizes for this purpose. Infants can become wedged in between the mattress and crib if there is even a small amount of room. Use the two-finger rule. If you can fit two fingers in-between the mattress and the crib the space is too large and a new mattress needs to be obtained.

Never leave the plastic covering on the mattress once you get it home. Also, avoid using plastic sheets as these can cause a suffocation hazard to infants. Choose a firm mattress so that the child lies on top rather than sinks into it. Use tight bedding on the mattress as well.

Baby crib safety is an important consideration when thinking about using an antique crib. While the style may go well with the décor of the room remember that cribs made before 1974 likely don't adhere to the safety standards. When shopping for the crib be sure to measure all aspects of the crib, even those that are brand new.

Most cribs need to be assembled at home. Incorrect assembly can make an otherwise safe crib into a safety hazard instead. Follow directions completely and always test the crib features before placing an infant inside.

Randi Reese offers a wide selection of unique baby cribs, including the popular Davinci crib.

Related Articles

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Is Your Baby Safe With the New Car Seat Guidelines?


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