A baby crib is one of the most important purchases a new or expecting parent makes. Babies sleep for most of their first year of life and the crib is where they spend all that time. To avoid dangerous accidents, it is crucial to ensure that your baby’s crib meets all the safety requirements.
Step 1 – Check the Crib for Missing Parts
The use of old cribs is not recommended. However, some people may receive an antique crib that has been in the family for many years, which makes it a valued commodity. In such cases, you are still better off using such a crib for ornamental purposes. If you decide to use the crib for your baby, you must thoroughly check it and rule out any broken or missing parts. If any parts or hardware are missing, the crib may come apart or fall down when your baby is in it.
Step 2 – Ensure the Space Requirements are Met
The slats in cribs keep babies from falling or rolling out of the crib. Ensure that all the slats on your crib are in the correct place and are tightly fit in place. The space between neighboring slats must be no more than 2.375 inches. A crib that has a bigger gap between the slats is dangerous, because a baby’s little head or body can become trapped in between. Another thing to look for is the gap between the crib and the mattress. Ensure that mattress is firm and tightly fitting inside the crib, and that you cannot squeeze in more than one finger in the gap. Again, if the gap is too large, the baby can get trapped in between the mattress and the crib wall. A soft mattress increases the chances of suffocation, as can a loose fitting sheet or a blanket. It is best to cover the baby in a sleeper instead of a blanket. Also ensure that the corner posts are flush with the corners of the crib, so that the baby cannot get clothing entangled in it. If the mattress is supported by hangers, check them frequently.
Step 3 – Avoid Decorative Openings and Threads
Some older cribs have decorative openings on the side. These openings are quite dangerous and must be avoided, because the baby’s head can get trapped. Also remove any decorative threads or ribbons you see on the crib, as they pose a strangulation risk. For the same reason, avoid tying toys to the crib with strings. Never place the crib close to curtains or blinds. The cords in blinds pose a significant danger, as do curtains that may suffocate the baby. Ensure that the crib side stays firmly in place when latched. Also check regularly for loose screws or parts.
Step 4 – Minimize Toxic Elements
To avoid chemicals, use an organic mattress, organic sheets and blankets in your baby’s crib. If the crib is old, it is best to strip away the paint as it may contain lead. Repaint with a paint that has no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).