November is Child Safety and Protection Month! We’re observing this month with a post on crib safety for our youngest community members – 12 months and under!
Recommendations on cribs and sleep routines have changed over the years as more research has been done – and as they say, when you know better, you do better!
Here are some tips to help prevent suffocation and reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS):
The crib itself:
- Never use a crib that is older than 10 years old or that is broken or has been modified.
- Never place a crib near any sorts of cords – baby monitor, blinds, or curtains, for example.
- The crib should not have any cut outs in the headboard or the foot board. Otherwise, baby’s head might get trapped.
- The crib should not have a drop-side (these are no longer even made due to the safety hazard!).
- Corner posts should be level with the end panels or no more than 1/16th inch higher in order to prevent baby’s clothing from getting caught on them. They should not have any fancy knobs or other accessories.
- Slats should not have more than 2 3/8 inches of space between them. This is about the width of a soda can. You do not want baby’s body to be able to fit through the slats. Make sure that there are no missing, cracked, or broken slats as well.
- Mesh cribs and playpens should have mesh that is less than 1/4 inch, which is about the size of the button on baby clothes. Make sure that the mesh has no tears, holes, or loose threads.
- Make sure that mesh is securely attached to the top rail and the floor plate.
- The top rail cover should not have any tears or holes.
- If any staples are used in the crib’s construction, they should not be exposed, loose, or missing.
- Hardware, such as screws or brackets, should not be loose, missing, broken, or installed incorrectly on the crib or mattress support. Such issues can cause gaps between the crib and mattress where baby can become trapped, strangled, or suffocated.
- Make sure that you assemble the crib correctly! Follow the instructions and call the manufacturer for assistance if needed. Incorrectly assembly can cause gaps that can hurt or kill baby.
- Babies need a firm, tight-fitting mattress. There should be no gaps larger than two fingers between the side of the crib and the mattress. Go for mom’s fingers when doing the test – they’re probably smaller! Babies have actually gotten between and even under mattresses and become trapped!
- Only use a fitted bottom sheet that is made for crib.
- Bare is best! It is safest for baby if you remove all fluffy, soft, and loose bedding – including blankets, comforters, quilts, sheepskins, sleep positioners, pillows, pillow-like bumper pads, and stuffed toys – before putting them down to nap or sleep. All those extra things might look cute in photos but they’re actually dangerous for babies! If you’re worried baby might get cold, try placing them in a sleeper.
- Mobiles or other toys with strings/ribbons should never be longer than 7 inches above the crib. They should be completely removed by 5 months old or when baby is able to push up onto their hands and knees, whichever comes first. Otherwise, mobiles can become a strangulation hazard.
- Baby should be placed on their back whenever they are being put down to nap or sleep. Tummy time is important but should only be done for short periods of time under supervision. Ask your doctor for more information on tummy time!
- If baby falls asleep in the car seat, swing, carrier, stroller, or sling, move baby to a firm sleeping surface on their back as soon as you can.
- Baby should be wearing only one layer more than you are wearing when they go down to sleep.
Sweet dreams, everyone!