Safe in Bed
Your favorite choice for a crib may seem perfect to you, but look at it from your baby's viewpoint. Can this part come off easily? Can little fingers get squished here? Although almost all cribs adhere to mandatory and voluntary safety standards, improper assembly and other hazards are still possible. Check the BabyZone recall database for recalls on crib models.
Make sure the crib slats are spaced no more than 2 and 3/8-inches apart. When dropped, the sidebar should be at least 9 inches above the mattress to prevent your baby from falling out. Check that the mattress you select fits snugly into the crib. Tiny hands, fingers, and heads can easily get stuck between a mattress and the crib—so you should not be able to put more than two finger widths between the mattress and the crib.
Go over your crib for any loose parts including those that are part of the construction and those that may be part of the design. Any decorative elements, such as knobs, pose a choking risk.
It's also important you check for the JPMA seal; the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association certifies manufacturers who comply with both mandatory and stricter voluntary standards. Don't buy a crib not approved by the JPMA.
Buy New, Avoid Used
In June 1999, regulations went into effect to make cribs safer. Older cribs and heirlooms may seem fine, but they may be missing hardware or have other safety hazards. Avoid them.
Cribs should not be placed near anything that a child might pull down or become entangled in. Windows, heaters, fans, lamps, cords, and other hazards should be kept out of reach from the crib.