Since 2011, the federal government has required crib manufacturers to follow strict guidelines, making newer cribs safer for your infant. However, there may be occasions when a new crib is not available, such as when you are away from home, or you may prefer to use a secondhand crib. Be sure to check a used crib for these three signs that it may not be safe for your baby.

  1. Wide slats – If the spaces between a crib’s slats are more than 2 3/8 inches, your baby could get trapped between them.
  1. Drop side – The government’s 2011 standards banned drop-side cribs, which have been responsible for the deaths of more than 30 babies. If the movable part of the crib malfunctions, it could suffocate or strangle an infant.
  1. Gap between mattress and crib – Make sure the space between the mattress and crib is no more than two fingers wide in every direction. If it is bigger than that, your baby’s hands or feet could get caught.

Reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS and other causes of infant mortality by providing a safe sleep surface and following the ABC’S of Safe Sleep. If you are in need of a crib for your baby, contact your local health department; the number is listed in our resource guide. To learn more about how to ensure your baby sleeps safely, check out this blog post or visit

Disclaimer: If your baby has a fever or other symptoms, or you have concerns about the growth and development of your child, always seek care with your healthcare provider.