Crib Safety: Safe In Bed
When choosing a crib for your baby's nursery, there are many considerations. You want the crib to match the general décor of the nursery and you want the crib to be a comfortable place that gives your baby lots of restful sleep. But of course, the most important thing is that the crib should be in a safe place where your baby can spend time, either while sleeping or awake.
U.S. government standards for the manufacture of cribs dating back to 1973 have made huge inroads on improving crib safety. That means that most cribs for babies that are sold new are safe indeed. Even so, cribs cause more child injuries than any other nursery item every year. Crib-related accidents are responsible for the deaths of 50 babies every year and another 9,000 infants sustain injuries from their cribs, annually.
Even though there are regulations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding crib safety, it's important to check out a potential purchase to make sure that all safety standards are met.
*Vertical slats or bars may not be more than 2 3/8" or 60mm apart. This prevents an infant from getting stuck between or from falling through them. If the bars are far apart, the baby's body could slip through the bars, but his much larger head could still become stuck, posing a grave danger to the infant.
*Check to ensure that decorative cutouts on the end walls of the crib don't exceed more than 2 3/8" for the same reason.
*Even if the vertical bars are the right distance apart from each other, if even one breaks off, a gap is created that would pose a danger to an infant. Make sure the bars are sturdy and built to last.
Cribs set on rollers are dangerous if you have older children at home, or if you expect the crib to last through several babies. Well-meaning siblings may decide it's a fun idea to push the crib around and subsequently cause the crib to tip over or worse yet, end up pushing it down a staircase. Even an adult might accidentally knock the crib away as they lean against the wheeled baby bed. If you have hardwood floors, the rollers become even more dangerous, since the smooth surface allows for easy rolling. Better to avoid the wheels altogether, or choose a crib with casters that can lock the wheels into place to prevent rolling.
Remember: Even a very well-built crib is safe only when well watched over and maintained.