Babies spend a lot of time during their initial months of life outside the womb sleeping. Newborns sleep for up to 17 hours a day but this number and the sleep pattern changes as they grow older. Since they spend so much time sleeping, it is therefore important to ensure that they sleep in a safe environment. Since safety is of utmost importance, it is crucial to have safety at the top of your mind when selecting the baby’s crib.
What you should look for in a crib
Fixed side rails
Cribs with adjustable side rails/ drop-side cribs that were traditionally being used were banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission due to safety concerns. This was a result of many infant and toddler deaths being linked to the drop-side cribs. You should therefore ensure that the crib you purchase has fixed side rails.
Proper slat distance
Ensure that the distance between the vertical bars at the sides of the crib aren’t larger than 6 centimeters. This is important so as to prevent the baby’s body from passing through the spaces and keep them from falling out or toddlers getting their heads trapped.
If you pick a crib with corner posts, make sure they are the same height with the headboards and footboards. If not, they should be more than 16 inches tall to reduce the strangulation hazards otherwise posed. The headboard, footboard and corner posts should also not have any decorative cutouts on which the baby might get caught.
The crib’s edges
The crib should not have any sharp edges that may scratch or cut the baby. No screws should be left protruding. Screws should also be tightly screwed on and accounted for. It is important to regularly check for this even after you have bought the crib.
If you prefer to purchase a used crib for whatever reason, there are other factors to keep in mind aside from the above. Make sure that you observe the following:
- The crib shouldn’t be over 10 years old. This is because those older cribs may not meet newly passed safety standards. Others that are much older may contain materials or substances that are hazardous to the baby such as lead in the paint used.
- The crib must be in a very shape. Make sure that it has all parts and that the slats are not worn out. If any repairs are to be done on it, make sure they are manufacturer-provided or approved and that there’s a manual to guide the installation process. Ensure that the crib is properly assembled when repairs are done otherwise they may pose danger to the baby.
Crib safety is however not only dependent on the physical status of the crib. Other factors and safety measures also come into play. These include using a firm well-fitting mattress that you have tested yourself and a snugly fitting sheet. You should avoid placing adult beddings and soft toys in the crib. In addition, the crib should be placed in a safe environment; far from drapes that can easy lead to strangulation.