Many moms like to have the crib set up several weeks before their due date. But don't worry if the baby arrives prior to your crib does; tots do good in a bassinet, cradle, or sleeper for the first few weeks or perhaps months of their lives.
Frame size: The crib inside should snugly accommodate a standard crib mattress -- at least 51 3/4 inches by 27 3/8 inches wide. Make sure that there is no space between the surfaces of the mattress and the crib walls. This poses a significant danger, as infants can get trapped in that space.
Mattresses: The two most frequent types sold are innerspring and foam and both are available in thicknesses between 3 and 6 inches. To get a foam mattress, even more important than depth, however, is high density; weight can be a fantastic indicator -- a heftier mattress is denser than one that is the exact same size but lighter. (See our purchasing guide for more information on purchasing crib mattress.)
Stability: Give the crib a fantastic shake at the store or once you put it together at home. If it wobbles or rattles, it might have been put together improperly. (Although wobbling or rattling could also be a sign that you should look for a sturdier crib.)
Space savers: Parents short on distance may be considering portable or mini-crib possibilities, both of which take up less space compared to full-size cribs. Some fold or collapse for storage; a few have wheels so they may be rolled around the home.
Old Automobiles: Cribs made before 1974, when federal crib-safety criteria went into effect, are more likely than newer versions to have security issues. Secondhand cribs might also have splinters, lead paint, discontinued (and possibly dangerous) features, or slats that are too far apart. Slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart (about the size of a soda can) to protect against a baby's head from getting suck. Articles on a crib should no higher than 1/16 of an inch (unless they're over 16 inches to support a canopy); differently, clothing can catch on them and injure or choke a baby. Even versions manufactured as recently as 1991 could be dangerous, so if you're borrowing a crib or purchasing a used one, look out for these risks in addition to for sharp edges, protruding metal, anything which may be broken off and choked on, peeling paint, along with cutouts across the railing which can trap your child's arm or neck. Examine the product recalls by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to make sure it has not been remembered.
Bumpers: Crib bumpers -- cushioned padding that attaches to the inside railings of the crib -- are occasionally still contained in crib bedding sets, but quite a few associations, including the AAP, now discourage them as a SIDS threat for infants.
Safe sleep recommendations: Get tips about infant bedding and sleep position to reduce your baby's risk of SIDS.
Infants often spend more time in the crib than anywhere else, so while relaxation is important, safety is essential. Since most children sleep in a crib till it's time to move to a true bed -- typically between the ages of 2 and 3 -- you'll need a hardy one.
Adjustable mattress height: Most cribs let you change the height of the crib mattress by simply raising or lowering the mattress support. The opportunity to reduce the mattress is if your child begins sitting up. As children get more active and proceed to pulling up and standing, they can climb and fall from the crib.
When setting up a crib, select a place away from windows, window blinds, and draperies. Infants can strangle on the cords, and older infants could possibly pull themselves up and fall through the window. When there's a cord on your baby monitor, keep it at least three feet in 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 instances in which Automobiles have come apart. If this occurs, a baby's head can get trapped in the spaces between the mattress and side rail.
Make sure the crib makeover is comparatively simple to perform (check online reviews from parents) which you enjoy the look of the brand new furniture.
Security limits: Crib manufacturers recommend discontinuing use (or turning into the product's next stage, for convertible cribs) when your child reaches a particular height, weight, or developmental stage. Height/weight limits are usually much lower on portable or mini-cribs.
Full-sized cribs, including convertibles, vary from $110 to $800. Portable and mini-cribs cost between $100 and $400. Fancier cribs can run $800 to $1,000 or much more.
Cribs with drop sides: The rule is simple -- do not use them. The movable railings called fall sides were common on cribs for a long time, but might pose a serious hazard to babies. If the drop side comes or dries loose, a baby can become entrapped and strangle or suffocate in the distance between the drop side and the crib mattress. Their sale has been banned because 2011.