The main concern of parents is the safety and well-being of their children. A crib should be a place where parents can place a baby and feel confident that the baby will be safe. However, the journal Pediatrics recently reported that an average of 26 children suffer from crib-related injury every day. It is important to remember these crib safety tips to protect your little ones from danger:
· Do not use purchase an antique or used crib. Antique cribs often have cutouts or openings that could trap the child’s head, neck, arms, or legs. Antique or used cribs may also be missing important hardware. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges that second-hand cribs can be risky.
· Do not use a crib with corner posts that are more than 1/16 of an inch higher then the crib ends or panels or less than 16 inches taller than the crib ends or side panels. Corner posts that do not meet these specifications can catch a child’s pajamas.
· The space between crib slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. The CPSC requires this to protect from babies getting their heads stuck between the slats.
· Check the crib hardware. It may become loose, missing, or damaged over time. Contact the manufacturer for replacement parts.
· Check for chipping paint. Lead can be found in old paint and is a health hazard to children.
· Check the mattress support to ensure that the system holding the mattress up is not bent or broken.
· Make sure the mattress fits. There should not be cracks or openings between the mattress and the crib. If two adult fingers can be placed between the mattress and the crib, the mattress needs to be replaced.
· Adjust the mattress to the correct height as the child grows. The higher the mattress is, the easier it is for a child to pull himself out of the crib. The mattress should be at the lowest setting when a child is able to pull himself up.
· Do not use bumper pads. They increase the risk of strangulation and suffocation. Bumper pads were used in the past to protect the child’s head from getting caught in between slats. However, all cribs sold in the U.S. today have slat requirements that make it nearly impossible for a child’s head to get through. The CPSC advises against bumper pads.
· Use only a bottom fitted sheet on a firm, tight-fitting mattress.
· Remove mobiles or crib gyms once a child can pull himself up. These are meant for babies to look at, not to reach for or touch.
· Place baby on his/her back for sleep. Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to develop Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
· Do not place pillows, blankets, comforters, stuffed toys, or anything similar in the crib while the baby is sleeping. Use a sleeper instead of a blanket. Babies can become entangled in these items and may not be able to free themselves.