Safety and Function: Choosing a Crib
Your baby’s crib is of vital importance. Next to your arms, your baby’s crib is where they will spend the majority of their time. There are numerous crib options to choose from and it may be difficult to pick a style. Whether you want a standard crib, a travel version, or a convertible crib, the safety specifications are straightforward and should be observed regardless of the exact style of crib you choose to use. You can find a wide selection of baby cribs at The Honest Company and other online baby supply stores as well as in many brick and mortar stores.
Types of Cribs
Consumer Reports explains that there are three different types of baby cribs. Other bed options like co-sleepers and bassinets are available, however, the consumer protection group notes that they are not as thoroughly regulated or as safe as cribs. There used to be a fourth option of a drop-side crib, but as of 2011 this type of crib was removed from the market as it was deemed unsafe. The remaining three styles include standard cribs, portable cribs, and convertible cribs. Portable cribs are slightly smaller than standard cribs and will not support a child after the first year or so. Convertible cribs are popular as they can convert into toddler beds, day beds, and even a full sized double bed as your child’s needs change. Consumer Reports also explain that you should look for a crib with a simple design, avoiding scroll work and other decorative trim details as these can catch baby’s clothes and cause injury or death. A good, safe crib will allow your baby to sleep comfortably and help your mind to rest peacefully as well.
Baby Center explains that crib slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart to prevent a child from slipping through the slats or getting stuck. Older cribs have slats that are placed further apart as standards were not as high a decade or two ago. For this reason, you should avoid purchasing older model cribs, or using the crib your mother saved from when you were a baby.
Crib posts are off of most people’s radar when thinking about a crib. The posts’ height is, however, important. When choosing a crib, look for a model with posts no higher than 1/16 of an inch high. The one exception is that if you choose a crib with a canopy and the posts are higher than 16 inches to support that canopy. Posts that are higher than 1/16 of an inch and lower than 16 inches are hazardous as clothing can catch and get stuck on them and cause harm to your child.
Adjustable Mattress Support
All cribs come with mattress supports that are typically metal frames with springs going horizontally in a basket weave pattern. The mattress support should be adjustable. You will need at least three height options to ensure continued safety as your child grows. Infants can be set on a higher mattress as they cannot move around much and there is no danger of them reaching the top of the crib’s side. However, when your baby starts sitting up he or she will need a lower mattress to prevent them from climbing over the side of the crib, or worse. Once your baby begins to stand the mattress must be lowered again to prevent climbing and potential injury.
While you may think that everything that your baby touches needs to be soft and cuddly, this is not the case. The mattress you choose for your baby’s crib should be firm and tight fitting, says CSPC.org. Using a mattress that fits tightly into the crib and does not give much when baby is laid on it, will prevent your child from getting stuck between the mattress and the side of the crib, or smothering in a pillow-like surface.
Crib bedding should be tight fitting. Avoid pillows, fluffy blankets, and pillow-like bumpers. A waterproof mattress pad, taught fitted sheet, and smooth bumpers (and maybe a thin, light blanket) are all you should put into the crib with your infant.
Selecting and setting up a crib for your baby is a major part of preparing your home for their arrival. Your baby will spend a large portion of their early months in their crib, so it should be a comfortable, safe environment. Choose a new crib, one that meets all current safety standards put out by the federal government. Outfit the crib with tight fitting sheets and bumpers and a firm mattress. Remember to change the position of the mattress as your child grows to avoid them trying to climb out and reduce the risk of injuries. A safe crib will help keep you and your baby healthy and happy.