Crib Safety Inspections: Regular Checks for Peace of Mind

Anxiety over your baby’s safety is well-founded, especially when it comes to their sleep. There are so many options on the market and a lot of conflicting information. You’re probably getting advice from family and friends, countless articles, and ads for nursery essentials.

Safe sleep is especially concerning for parents because of the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The risk of SIDS can be significantly lowered when implementing good safety precautions, and a safe crib set up is the first step.

We’re here to make everything about crib safety easy to understand and easy to access. We’ll go over everything safety-related from the crib to its mattress and accessories using information from reliable sources. You’ll want to do these safety checks while purchasing a new crib set up and routinely during use.

Let’s jump in!

New Crib Safety Checks

The first safety check should take place before choosing your crib. A hand-me-down or thrifted crib is a great option for your wallet and is environmentally conscious, but you have to be extra cautious when choosing an older crib.

In 2011, the CPSC implemented rigorous safety standards and tests for cribs. Before this, safety standards hadn’t been updated in nearly 30 years! Any new standards take time to fully implement, so you should be cautious of cribs made in 2011 up to a few years later.

It’s probably tempting to get a gorgeous antique crib or use the one that generations of your family grew up in, but your baby’s safety is the most important. The Cleveland Clinic has a great list of unsafe features in antique cribs, and we’ll summarize them all here with some extra commentary:

1. Drop-Down Sides

This was a popular feature in cribs for years, even when experts urged companies to stop producing them because of their safety concerns. These sides made parents’ lives easier but caused many suffocation and strangulation deaths. Always avoid this feature.

2. Wide Slat Gaps

The 2011 safety regulations also implemented a standard slat gap size to prevent your baby’s head or limbs from getting stuck. Gaps should be no more than 2 ⅜ inches wide.

3. Smooth Corner Posts

You’ll want smooth, non-decorative corner posts that are flush with the end panels.

4. No Cut-Out Designs

Cut-outs can lead to caught heads or limbs that can lead to strangulation.

5. Missing, Flimsy, or Broken Parts

Any missing piece can be a hazard for your baby. You don’t want anything sharp, breakable, or swallowable anywhere your baby can reach.

6. Flimsy Mattress and Mattress Gaps

Mattress safety standards were further updated in 2022. Your crib’s mattress should be firm, not soft or flimsy. You want it flush against the sides with no wiggle room so your little one can’t get stuck.

7. Lead Paint

You probably won’t come across this one, but cribs manufactured in the 70’s may have lead paint. You’ll want to avoid this because of the physical and cognitive damage lead can cause. 

Each safety standard was introduced to reduce suffocation and strangulation risks in young children. The sentimental value of an old crib might be tempting, but always put your little one’s safety first. You never know what could happen, so safety precautions should come first.

New models follow these safety standards, but an extra layer of safety comes with choosing a high-quality, durable crib. To avoid any wear-and-tear damage like broken railings, splinters, or faulty hardware, opt for the best in-budget crib. Look for real wood, durable finishes, and strong hardware. 

Crib Set-Up Safety Checks

After you’ve chosen a safe crib, you’ll want to make sure it’s set up properly. The Nationwide Children’s Hospital has a great, comprehensive list of safe sleep practices. We’ll focus specifically on crib and nursery set-up, using some of their information and our tips.

1. Properly Build the Crib

Always follow manufacturer instructions when putting together your crib. Make sure everything is sturdy when you’re done and that you don’t have any missing pieces. This is also a great time to ensure that every piece of your crib is durable and strong.

2. Fitted Sheet

Use a snugly fitted sheet. Make sure it’s put on correctly to avoid loose corners that can pull up and become a suffocation hazard.

Mother laying baby in crib

3. Don’t Use Extras

Besides an age-appropriate swaddle or sleep sack, you shouldn’t put anything else in your baby’s crib. This includes blankets, toys, incliners or nesters, and crib bumpers, which were banned in 2021. 

4. Baby Monitor

A video or audio baby monitor is a great investment for your baby’s safe sleep. It can calm those anxious parenting nerves without risking waking your baby up to check on them.

5. Temperature

Overheating can cause SIDS. You’ll usually want your baby’s nursery to be between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 Celsius). Many sleep bags, like Kyte Baby sleep sacks, come with a weight rating to help regulate your baby’s body temperature based on the room temperature.

Your little one is too hot if they’re sweating, flushed, or hot to the touch. They’re too cold if their hands or feet turn slightly blue, if they’re cold to the touch, or if they’re shivering.

6. Crib Placement

Where you put the crib in the nursery is also important. Avoid placing it by windows where curtains or blind cords could be a hazard. Setting up your crib too close to a window or heater vent can also affect your baby’s temperature regulation.

Routine Crib Safety Checks

Once you’ve got a crib chosen and set up, you’ve done most of the hard work. Now you have to remain vigilant for any wear-and-tear, proper bedding changes, and temperature.

1. Check for Sturdiness and Wear-and-Tear

Regularly check that your crib is in good condition. You’ll want to look for any parts that have gone missing and sturdy construction. Also, be aware of any splintering or wobbling.

2. Firm Mattress

Mattresses may lose firmness over time. Whenever you’re changing the sheets, make sure the mattress is firm and that there are no worn-down, not-flat spots. The safest surface for your baby to sleep on is always flat and firm, not soft.

3. Sheet Changes

When changing bedding, always make sure your fitted sheets are properly placed to avoid loose corners. Also, make sure that there are no tears in the sheet.

Put Together a Safe Sleep Environment for Your Baby!

These checklists can help ensure your baby sleeps safe and sound every night. Knowledge is our best resource for keeping our babies safe, and you’ve got everything you need to start right. Remember to always be on the lookout for new, updated information.

These checklists, from choosing a crib to everyday use, will give you peace of mind and keep your little one sleeping safely. Your vigilance pays off every night that you lay your little one down in their crib. Here’s to many peaceful nights for both you and your baby!

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