Preparing for your baby: Crib safety

When you are expecting a baby, it’s an exciting time. There are lots of things to think about – including where your child will sleep. Will they have their own room? Will they share a room with a sibling? Will they sleep in your room for a time?

Regardless of their surroundings, it’s important that your infant have a safe sleeping surface and environment. Remember the ABC’s of Safe Sleep: Babies sleep best Alone, on their Back, in a Crib or other Safe Sleep Surface. Whether you use a crib, bassinet or pack n’ play, here are a few simple tips on keeping your baby safe at night and at nap time.

1. Assemble the crib, bassinet or pack n’ plan according to the manufacturer’s directions. Don’t use any mattress other than the one provided.

2. Don’t use any crib older than 10 years, or one that has broken slats or has been modified. Drop-side cribs and older cribs had different safety standards than cribs manufactured today. And infants can strangle if their bodies pass through gaps between slats or loose components.

3. Never place a crib, bassinet or pack n’ play near a window that has blinds or cords. Babies explore the world with their hands, and pulling on cords can be dangerous for them.

4. Keep his or her sleep environment free of toys, pillows, blankets or crib bumpers. Any of these can shift while your baby sleeps, and cover your infant’s face, leading to risk of suffocation. Instead of blankets, use a sleep sack to keep your baby warm in the winter.

5. Make sure mobiles are safely out of reach. Babies love to look at mobiles, but their cute, dangling toys can be a choking hazard. Make sure they are high enough above the crib that your baby can’t reach them.

6. Make sure there are no gaps wider than two fingers between the sides of the crib and the mattress. Little faces can get trapped there, and be at risk of suffocation.

7. Never co-sleep with your baby. Babies should always sleep alone in a crib, pack n play or other safe sleep surface. This includes not sleeping with parents, siblings and all others.

Babies spend much of their time sleeping, so their nursery should be the safest room in the house – no matter what room that might be. Read more about safe sleep for babies at www.bootheelbabies.org/safe-sleep

Source: United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, www.cpsc.gov