The crib is a cushioned palace for any baby, and an important purchase (or inheritance) for any new parent. And because your baby will be spending a significant portion of her time in this cozy space, it’s super important to understand what to look for when acquiring a crib and how to keep that crib safe for her.
All products have their strengths and weaknesses, but considering you’ll be placing your baby in her crib every night, there are certain potential cribs to steer clear of. First, cribs with adjustable side rails have been outlawed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CSPC's guidelines for crib safety also outlines the fact that cribs with gaps between slats wider than 6 centimeters can increase the risk of a serious accident. Soft mattresses can increase the risk of smothering, and firm mattresses that fill the entire crib space are considered to be safest. Older hand-me-down or heirloom cribs may not meet current safety standards, including lead paint, decorative cut-outs, and measurements.
Once you’ve settled upon a suitable crib and assembled it for your baby, bear in mind that there’s one resoundingly recommended sleeping position for babies: flat on their backs! Studies have shown that the average baby takes in less oxygen when sleeping on their stomach, and because side sleeping can easily transition into stomach sleeping somewhere in the course of the night, you’ll want to avoid placing your baby in any position but on her back at bedtime. Placing babies to sleep on their backs is the simplest, most effective way to help prevent SIDS. Other factors which may reduce SIDS risks include not smoking in the room, keeping the room at a moderate temperature instead of letting it get too hot, and sleeping in the same room as her for the first 6 months.
Keeping a regular eye on the composition and contents of your baby’s crib will ensure many a good night sleep. Make sure that there are no fluffy pillows, blankets or plush toys in the crib, as these items can increase the risk of suffocation. Crib bumpers are also a no-no. Check the crib for loose screws or bolts on a regular basis. And once your baby begins performing junior pull-ups on the crib rails, remove any mobiles or crib gyms to prevent her from getting entangled.