Infants often spend more time at the crib than anywhere else, so while comfort is important, safety is essential. Since most children sleep in a crib until it's time to move to a real bed -- typically between the ages of 2 and 3 -- you'll need a hardy one.
Cribs with drop sides: The principle is simple -- do not use them. The movable railings known as fall sides were more common on cribs for a long time, but can pose a serious hazard for babies. If the fall side detaches or comes loose, a baby can become entrapped and strangle or suffocate from the distance between the fall side along with the crib mattress. Their sale was banned since 2011.
Adjustable mattress heightthe majority of cribs let you change the elevation of the crib mattress simply by raising or lowering the mattress support. The time to lower the mattress is if your child begins sitting up. As kids get more active and proceed to pulling up and standing, they can climb and drop from the crib.
Most new cribs available on the market comply with both voluntary and mandatory safety standards. Read crib safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). For starters, make sure that yours is properly assembled and structurally sound; the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports many cases where Automobiles have come . If it occurs, a baby's head can get trapped in the spaces between the mattress and side rail.
Safe sleep hints: Get advice about infant bedding and sleep position to lower your child's risk of SIDS.
Frame size: The crib interior should snugly accommodate a standard crib mattress -- at least 51 3/4 inches long by 27 3/8 inches wide. Make sure there is no distance between the sides of the mattress and the crib walls. This poses a significant danger, as infants can get trapped in that space.
Mattresses: The two most common forms sold are innerspring and foam and both can be found in thicknesses between 3 and 6 inches. For a foam mattress, more important than depth, though, is high density; weight can be a fantastic indicator -- a heavier mattress is thicker than one that is the same size but lighter. (See our purchasing guide to learn more on buying crib mattresses.)
Many mothers like to have the crib set up a few months before their due date. But don't be concerned if the baby arrives before your infant does; tots do good in a bassinet, cradle, or sleeper for your first few weeks or even months of their lives.
Stability: Give the crib a fantastic shake in the store or after you put it together in your home. If it wobbles or rattles, it might have been placed together improperly. (Although wobbling or rattling could also be a sign that you need to look for a sturdier crib.)
Old Automobiles: Cribs made before 1974, when federal crib-safety standards went into effect, are somewhat more likely than newer models to have security problems. Secondhand cribs may also have splinters, lead paint, discontinued (and potentially dangerous) attributes, or slats that are too far apart. Posts on a crib should no greater than 1/16 of an inch (unless they're over 16 inches high to encourage a canopy); otherwise, clothes can catch them on and injure or choke a baby. Even models manufactured as recently as 1991 could be unsafe, so if you're borrowing a crib or buying a used one, keep an eye out for these dangers as well as for sharp edges, protruding metal, anything that can be broken off and spilled on, peeling paint, and cutouts along the railing that can trap your baby's neck or arm. Examine the product recalls by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to make sure it hasn't been recalled.
Bumpers: Crib bumpers -- cushioned cushioning that attaches to the inside railings of the crib -- are sometimes still included in crib bedding collections, but a number of associations, including the AAP, today discourage them as a SIDS threat for infants.
Space savers: Children short on distance may be interested in portable or mini-crib possibilities, each of which take up less space than full-size Automobiles. Some fold or collapse for storage; a few have wheels so that they can be wrapped around the house.
Full-sized Automobiles, such as convertibles, range from $110 to $800.
Security limits: Crib manufacturers recommend discontinuing use (or converting to the product's next phase , for convertible cribs) when your child reaches a specific height, weight, or developmental stage. Height/weight limits are usually much lower on portable or mini-cribs.
When setting up a crib, choose a place away from windows, window blinds, and draperies. Infants can strangle on the cords, and older infants could possibly pull themselves up and drop through the window. If there's a cable in your infant screen, keep it at least 3 feet from the crib.
Versatility: Many Automobiles are designed to convert into a toddler bed, day bed, or even the headboard and footboard for a full size bed. Be certain that the crib makeover is comparatively simple to do (check online reviews from parents) which you like the look of the brand new furniture.