Crib safety can be a matter of life and death.
When your baby is in the womb, they sleep in perfect comfort, surrounded by the perfect temperature, provided with food and soothed by the beat of your heart. As a parent, you may think putting your baby to sleep in a comfy, squishy spa-like crib would be a great choice, but in reality, your child’s crib should be more like a monk’s cot – plain and empty.
At Bay Street Pediatrics, we want your baby to sleep safely. Follow these guidelines to prevent avoidable tragedies like suffocation, choking and SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome.
Vintage or used cribs must be closely inspected.
Getting a family crib sounds just wonderful but can be dangerous as older cribs rarely meet modern safety standards. The slats in your baby’s crib should be no more than 2-3/8” apart, which prevents baby’s head from getting wedged between slats. Check each slat regularly to be sure they are not cracked, loose or splintered. Replace a missing or broken slat immediately, before your child sleeps in the crib again. Be sure that sides latch securely and that latches cannot be reached or released by your child.
A safe crib is an empty crib.
The American Academy of Pediatrics instructs parents to never ever put stuffed toys, blankets, comforters, or pillows of any kind in the crib with your baby. Do not use crib bumpers. Items that are fluffy, stuffed, or cushioned can cause suffocation. When your baby sleeps too closely to these items, they can form a “pocket” of the baby’s own exhaled carbon dioxide near the nose and mouth, resulting in your baby breathing in this gas, believed to be a major factor in SIDS.
The mattress in your baby’s crib should fit snugly, with no gaps between the mattress and sides of the crib. The mattress should be firm and covered in sheets that fit tightly.
Your baby’s mattress should move as soon as they move.
Setting the mattress at the highest level makes it easier for parents to manage getting your newborn in and out of the crib. However, as soon as your child attempts to roll over, move the mattress lower. Once your child can stand, the mattress should be set at the lowest position so your baby cannot climb over the railing and fall.
Keep the crib away from windows and other furniture.
The crib should be as far away from windows as possible, so they are not able to reach any shades, drapes, or curtains. Adjustment pulls or strings on blinds are a choking hazard and should be as short as possible in every room of your home. Keep the crib far enough away from the dresser so the baby can’t use it to climb out. If that’s not possible, make sure the top is clear of objects your baby could pull into the crib.
Keep your eyes on that mobile.
As soon as your baby can push up on their hands and knees, remove the mobile or anything that dangles, as they become a strangulation risk. Mobiles should be well out of reach of your baby, and any strings or ribbons should be shorter than 7”.
If you have questions about your child’s crib safety, contact Bay Street Pediatrics. We’ll be happy to walk you through the details of creating a safe sleep space for your infant.