Many mothers like to have the crib set up several weeks before their due date. But don't be concerned if the baby arrives prior to your infant does; tots do fine in a bassinet, cradle, or sleeper for the first several weeks or even months of their lives.
When setting up a crib, select a place away from windows, window blinds, and draperies. Infants can strangle on the cords, and older babies could possibly pull themselves up and drop through the window. If there's a cord on your baby monitor, keep it at least 3 feet in the crib.
Security limits: Crib manufacturers advocate discontinuing use (or converting to the product's next stage( for convertible cribs) when your child reaches a specific height, weight, or developmental phase. Height/weight limits are usually much lower on portable or mini-cribs. Read your product manual carefully and follow instructions.
Space savers: Parents short on space may be considering mobile or mini-crib options, both of which take up less space than full-size Automobiles. Some fold or collapse for storage; some have wheels so they can be rolled around the home.
Most new cribs on the market comply with both voluntary and mandatory safety standards. For starters, be sure yours is properly constructed and structurally sound; the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports many instances where Automobiles have come apart. If this occurs, a kid's head can get trapped in the spaces between the mattress and side rail.
Safe sleep hints: Get advice about crib bedding and sleep position to lower your baby's risk of SIDS.
Cribs with drop sides: The rule is simple -- do not use them. The movable railings called drop sides were common on toddlers for decades, but can pose a serious hazard for babies. If the drop side comes or dries loose, then a baby can become entrapped and strangle or suffocate in the space between the drop side and the crib mattress. Their sale has been banned since 2011.
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 may have been put together improperly. (Although wobbling or rattling could also be a sign that you should start looking for a sturdier crib.)
For a foam mattress, even more important than thickness, though, 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 to learn more on purchasing crib mattresses.)
Bumpers: Crib bumpers -- cushioned padding that attaches to the interior railings of the crib -- are sometimes still included in crib bedding collections, but quite a few associations, including the AAP, today discourage them as a SIDS threat for infants.
Infants often spend more time at the crib than anywhere else, so while relaxation is important, security is essential. Since most children sleep in a crib until it is time to move into a real bed -- normally between the ages of 2 and 3 -- you will want a sturdy 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 lower 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.
Versatility: a lot of cribs are designed to convert into a toddler bed, day bed, or even the headboard and footboard for a full size bed. Be certain the crib makeover is comparatively simple to do (check online reviews from parents) and that you like the look of the brand new furniture.
Full-sized cribs, including convertibles, vary from $110 to $800.
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. Ensure there is not any distance between the sides of the mattress and the crib walls. This poses a considerable danger, as babies can get trapped inside that space.
Old cribs: Cribs made before 1974, when federal crib-safety standards went into effect, are somewhat more likely than newer models to have safety issues. Secondhand cribs might also have splinters, lead paint, discontinued (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 becoming suck. Posts on a crib shouldn't greater than 1/16 of an inch (unless they're over 16 inches high to support a canopy); otherwise, clothing can catch them on and injure or choke a baby. Even models fabricated as recently as 1991 could be dangerous, so if you are borrowing a crib or buying a used one, look out for these risks as well as for sharp edges, protruding metal, anything that can 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 item recalls from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to make sure it has not been remembered.