Much of your child's early life is spent inside his or her crib. Ensuring your child's safety becomes your primary concern as a parent.
Every crib currently produced is required to meet Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) safety requirements. Additional voluntary safety standards have also been set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and are certified by the Juvenile Product's Manufacturer's Association (JPMA).
General safety requirements and advice for baby cribs are outlined below.
- Slats must be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart so that your baby will not get stuck between the railings. The diameter of a pop can is the same measurement, so if the slats are farther apart than a pop can, the crib should be disposed of.
- A firm, tight-fitting mattress should be used. If the width of two adult fingers can fit between the mattress and the edge of the crib, then your baby could possibly become trapped underneath it. Also, the mattress should not be too soft, as a baby's face can become buried, causing him or her to suffocate. Always place your baby on his or her back.
- Check periodically for loose or missing screws, brackets, and other hardware. Even if the crib is properly assembled, an energetic child who jumps could possibly loosen joints. The hardware and the crib should be smooth and free of sharp edges, points and rough surfaces.
- No cutouts in the headboard or footboard so the baby's head can't get trapped.
- No corner posts over 1/16th of an inch high so baby's clothes can't catch.
- The top rails of crib sides, in their raised position, should be at least 26 inches above the top of the mattress support at its lowest position. This ensures that your child will have a hard time crawling out.
- As soon as the child can pull himself to a standing position, set and keep the mattress at its lowest position. Stop using the crib once the height of the top rails is less than three-fourths of the child's height.
- The drop side(s) should require two distinct actions or a minimum force of ten pounds with one action to release the latch or the locks to prevent accidental release by the child. Be sure to fully raise and lock the drop side railing every time you place your baby in the crib.
- Teething rails that are damaged should be fixed, replaced or removed immediately.
- Be sure to place cribs away from windows. Your active baby could find trouble with drapery and blind cords, or could test the strength of your window screen.
- Install smoke detectors in your home and follow the instructions carefully. Check at least once a month to make sure battery and smoke detector are in good working condition.
- Check older furniture and homes for lead in the paint. It can be found on walls and on painted old toys and furniture. For more information on identifying or removing lead paint, call the National Safety Council's National Lead Information Center at 800-424-5323.
By knowing and executing these safety practices, you will feel much more at ease when you place your baby to sleep in his or her ultra-secure crib.