Safety limits: Crib manufacturers advocate discontinuing use (or turning into 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 mobile or mini-cribs. Read your product manual carefully and follow recommendations.
Old cribs: Cribs made before 1974, when national crib-safety standards went into effect, are somewhat more likely than newer versions to have safety problems. Secondhand cribs might also have splinters, lead paint, stopped (and potentially dangerous) attributes, 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. Posts on a crib should no higher than 1/16 of an inch (unless they're over 16 inches high to encourage a canopy); otherwise, clothes can catch on them and injure or choke an infant. Even models manufactured as recently as 1991 could be unsafe, so if you're borrowing a crib or purchasing a used one, look out for these dangers as well as for sharp edges, protruding metal, anything that can be broken off and choked on, peeling paint, and cutouts along the rail that can trap your child's neck or arm. Examine the item recalls by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to make sure it has not been remembered.
Frame size: The crib interior ought to snugly adapt a standard crib mattress -- at least 51 3/4 inches by 27 3/8 inches wide. Ensure there is no space between the sides of the mattress and the crib walls. This poses a considerable danger, as infants can get trapped inside that area.
When setting up a crib, choose a place away from windows, window blinds, and draperies. Infants can strangle on the cords, and older babies could possibly pull up themselves and fall through the window. If there's a cord on your infant monitor, keep it at least three feet in the crib.
Space savers: Children short on distance may be considering mobile or mini-crib options, both of which occupy less space compared to full-size cribs. Some fold or collapse for storage; some have wheels so they may be rolled around the home.
Cribs with drop sides: The rule is simple -- don't use them. The movable railings called fall sides were common on cribs for a long time, but might pose a severe hazard to infants. If the fall side comes or dries loose, a baby can become entrapped and strangle or suffocate from the space between the fall side along with the crib mattress. Their sale has been banned because 2011.
Infants often spend more time at the crib than anywhere else, so while relaxation is important, safety is essential. Since most children sleep in a crib until it's time to move to a true bed -- normally between the ages of 2 and 3 -- you'll need a hardy one.
Full-sized cribs, such as convertibles, vary from $110 to $800. Fancier Automobiles can run $800 to $1,000 or a lot more.
Adjustable mattress height: Most Automobiles allow you to change the height of the crib mattress simply by raising or lowering the mattress support. The time to reduce the mattress is if your child begins sitting up. As children get more active and proceed to pulling up and standing, they could climb and fall from the crib.
Safe sleep recommendations: Get tips about crib bedding and sleep position to reduce your child's risk of SIDS.
Stability: Give the crib a good shake in the shop or once you put it together in your home. If it wobbles or rattles, it might have been put together improperly.
Most new cribs on the market comply with the voluntary and mandatory safety standards. For starters, make sure that yours is correctly constructed and structurally sound; the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports many cases where cribs have come . If this occurs, a kid's head can get trapped in the spaces between the mattress and side rail.
Bumpers: Crib bumpers -- cushioned padding that attaches to the interior railings of the crib -- are occasionally still contained in crib bedding sets, but quite a few organizations, including the AAP, today dissuade them as a SIDS hazard for babies.
Versatility: a lot of cribs are intended to convert into a toddler bed, day bed, or even the headboard and footboard for a full-size bed. Be sure that the crib makeover is relatively easy to perform (check online reviews from parents) and that you like the appearance of the brand new furniture.
Many mothers like to have the crib set up several weeks before their due date. But do not be concerned if the baby arrives before your infant does; tots do good in a bassinet, cradle, or sleeper for your first several months or even months of their lives.
Mattresses: The two most common forms sold are innerspring and foam and both can be found 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 good indicator -- a heavier mattress is thicker than one that's the same size but lighter. (See our buying guide to learn more on purchasing crib mattress.)