Getting your home ready for a baby? One of the first things you’ll need to look into is buying a crib. Here are a few safety tips from Healthy Children Organization, What To Expect and The Bump to help your search along:
1. USED vs. UP-TO-DATE: Not quite sure you need to buy a new one, at least not when you have a wonderful, still-in-good condition hand-me-down crib? Heirloom or not, you might want to rethink that decision when you consider the safety of your baby. This is especially timely, in light of the requirements that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) made in 2011. The requirements led manufacturers as well as retailers to make crib safety a top priority. One of the main requirements included the development of stronger mattress supports and cribslats, along with sturdy crib hardware and strict safety testing procedures to ensure only the best units made it to the market.
With all that, picking a new crib over an old one, no matter how gorgeous it is, is infinitely the better choice.
2. CONVERTIBLE CRIBS: Before you settle on a crib, make sure you check out all your available choices. Go for a convertible instead of a crib. This way, you can save money by keeping the same crib for your toddler. Popular brands like Honest Company offer cribs with convertible features ideal for money-wise parents. With a convertible, you won’t have to toss over that crib for a brand new toddler bed when your baby outgrows the crib all too soon.
3. SLATS AND RAILS: Your baby is going to spend a lot of time in that crib. So make sure the space between the bars doesn’t go beyond 2 3/8 inches. If the slats are too big, your baby could fall through the space or get stuck in between the bars. Are the corner posts higher than 1/16 inches? Saw the excess height off. Corner posts that are too high could pose choking hazards for your baby. Their clothes could get caught in the corners and lead to harm or worse. No matter how careful and constant you watch over your baby, you can’t always be there 24/7. You’ve got to wash the bottles, get a little shut-eye or go for a quick bathroom break. And all it’ll take is a moment’s inattention for your baby to get into an accident. By picking out the right crib dimensions, you’re taking steps to ensure your child is protected, even when you aren’t there.
4. STURDY HARDWARE: Don’t forget to check the safety of the crib by testing the hardware. Everything—all the bolts, nuts and screws, along with the rest of the hardware—should be secure. There shouldn’t be any loose or jiggly parts. If there are, it’s not a good sign. If you just finished putting together the crib and you find a few pieces are still left, you could have skipped an important step. Take it from the top. Don’t be complacent about crib safety. Any misses could lead to an accident. So be thorough when you inspect the hardware. If you still aren’t sure, better call a professional to help you put that crib together. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
5. MATTRESS FIT: One other important item that goes together with the crib is the mattress. Picking out the right mattress means making sure there isn’t any space between the mattress and the inside of the crib. Any space, no matter how tiny, could mean trouble. And don’t try to improve the fit by tucking in any clothing or toys into that space. Toys and thick blanket rolls could suffocate the baby. So while the toys are cute and the blankets plush and warm, keep them away from your baby until your child is old enough for them.
6. COLOR: While color is one of the things parents undoubtedly look out for when choosing a crib, there’s one thing that’s more important: ensuring that the paint doesn’t contain any lead. Paints on older cribs could show some lead content. That’s one reason to opt for new models instead of going for hand-me-downs.
7. POSITION: Remember never to put the crib anywhere near the windows. Direct sunlight could make your baby feel too hot. That goes for corners or spots too near the radiator. Another thing about windows are the blinds and strings. Babies could use these to pull themselves up and over the crib. It’s important to have these well out of your kid’s reach.
8. HEIGHT: Don’t go for cribs that are too high. Check the height that you’re comfortable with. Is there easy access to the baby? If you’re having a tough time trying to reach in and get your sleeping baby, you might want to consider another crib, one that’s ideal for your height.