Crib Safety

Injury Prevention Crib Safety cartoonSelecting your baby’s crib is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a new parent. Since your child will spend a great deal of time in her crib, you’ll want to be sure it’s safe. Use the following guidelines when purchasing a crib or testing the safety of a used one.

  • Whether buying a new crib or borrowing a used one, make sure it was made after 1989, which is the year crib safety standards were implemented.
  • New crib requirements from the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2011 prohibits the sale of drop-side rails in cribs. We recommend you do not use this type of crib under any circumstance.
  • The distance between the slats of the crib should be less than two-and-three-eighth inches to prevent your baby from getting her head caught and possibly being strangled. Make sure there are no missing slats.
  • The crib must be free of sharp edges and exposed screws or bolts that could scratch or cut your baby.
  • The crib should have no corner posts that stick out that could catch your baby’s clothing and potentially cause strangulation or other serious injury.
  • The mattress should fit the crib snugly (less than two fingers should fit between the mattress and sides of the crib). The crib’s end panels should extend well below the mattress at its lowest level. This prevents the child from becoming trapped and possibly suffocating in gaps surrounding the mattress.
  • Crib sheets must fit tightly in all corners and sides to prevent your baby from getting tangled.
  • The latches of the crib’s adjustable sides should hold securely. Your child should not be able to adjust or loosen the latches.
  • The crib’s mattress support should be firmly secured.
  • The crib’s end panels should not have cutout designs that your baby could get stuck in.
  • Paint on the crib surfaces should be nontoxic.
  • Set crib mattress at the lowest position by the time your baby learns to stand.
  • Move your child to a bed when she is 35 inches tall or the height of the side rail is less than 75 percent of her height.
  • Once you’ve selected a crib, follow assembly instructions carefully. These instructions should also contain tips for cleaning and maintenance. Keep the instructions for future reference.