I have a baby crib for my 8-month-old daughter. I was reading in a magazine that cribs can be dangerous. How is that and what should I do to prevent a problem?
I want to start by assuring you that cribs are not inherently dangerous, and in fact offer babies a very safe place to sleep when used correctly. That said, there are several crib-safety recommendations available from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that you'll want to be very sure and follow in order to help keep your daughter as safe as possible in her crib. These include:
- Crib slats, corner posts, and cutouts can all be potentially dangerous if they don't meet current safety standards. Crib slats should never be more than 2 3/8 inches apart and there should be no cutouts in the head or footboard (in order to prevent entrapment) and corner posts should be no more than 1/16th of an inch high (to avoid the chance of a baby's clothing getting caught).
- Make sure that the crib mattress fits tightly in the crib so that your baby won't get trapped between the mattress and the crib.
- Make very sure that your baby's crib is assembled correctly, according to manufacturer's instructions, and that there are no missing, loose, or broken parts. Improper assembly has led to some recent and very serious and even life-threatening crib-related incidents.
- It's very important to also make sure that you create a safe sleep space inside your baby's crib. This means you should always put your baby to sleep on her back; keep all pillows, quilts, comforters, padded bumpers, and any other soft toys out of the crib since they can pose a risk for suffocation; be sure to use a snugly fitted crib sheet; and consider dressing your baby in a sleeper or wearable blanket instead of using a blanket.
It's crucial that all parents stay informed about any updated recommendations and/or recalls involving cribs and crib safety. I therefore recommend always sending in the registration forms for any and all baby products, as this gives manufacturers a way to contact you directly should there be any new safety information or warnings about their products I also encourage all parents to look at the CPSC website, where you can sign up to directly receive recall updates.