How to Buy a Crib
What you need to know before buying Baby's first bed
After the first OMG moment—you’re having a baby!—that Mama Bear gene kicks in. You’ll do anything to keep your baby safe, starting with a healthy prenatal diet, downing your vitamins, and getting a good crib. Happily, it’s not hard to find one that looks cool and gives Baby a secure place to lay that sweet little head (when that little one decides to sleep, that is).
“Cribs are safer than ever,” says Joyce Davis, president of Keeping Babies Safe. In fact, in 2011 The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued new standards for cribs; slats, mattress supports and hardware will be improved and require more heavy-duty testing.
A few crib notes on shopping:
DO ask the retailer if the crib you’re checking out complies with 16 CRF 1219 (the current standard for full-size cribs) or 16 CFR 1219 (the standard for non-full-size cribs). If the answer is yes, you can get out your wallet.
DON’T purchase any crib (or accept a used one) that was manufactured prior to December 2010, because it will not meet today’s safety standards.
DO test the fit of the mattress. It should fit snugly inside the crib, leaving only enough space for two fingers.
DON’T use a drop-side crib. Period. “Even if your first child slept in one, do not put your second child in a drop-side crib,” says Davis. They were banned in 2010 after being linked to infant deaths from suffocation, defective hardware, and other issues.
DON’T buy bumpers, even if they are still being sold in baby stores. They have been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
DO follow the CPSC’s safety recommendations:
- slats spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches apart
- no missing or loose slats
- a properly sized mattress. (The mattress is too small if you can fit more than two fingers between the edge of the mattress and the side of the crib. An infant can get his head or body wedged in the extra space and suffocate.)
- corner posts that are no more than 1/16 inch high. (They can be catch points for objects or clothing worn by a child and cause strangulation.)
- no missing, broken, or loose hardware
- no decorative cutouts in the headboard or footboard, which could entrap tiny limbs or a child’s head
- no unsecured mattress support hangers that can be easily dislodged
- Chances are, your heirloom crib doesn’t follow these guidelines, so reconsider purchasing a newer model.
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