Practice Crib Safety

Follow these crib safety tips and protect your child. An unsafe crib could be very dangerous for your baby! Each year, about 50 babies suffocate or strangle when they become trapped between broken crib parts or in cribs with older, unsafe designs. Listed here are specific guidelines to follow when evaluating a crib, playpen, or play yard, and the practices to follow to prevent accidents from occurring to your baby.

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For infants under 12 months of age, follow these crib safety practices to reduce the risk of SIDS and prevent suffocation:

Place baby on his/her back in a crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress.

Do not put pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, pillow-like bumper pads or pillow-like stuffed toys in the crib.

Consider using a sleeper instead of a blanket.

For crib safety, if you do use a blanket, place baby with feet to foot of the crib. Tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress, covering baby only as high as his/her chest.

Use only a fitted bottom sheet specifically made for crib use.

For mesh-sided cribs or play yards, look for:
Mesh less than 1/4 inch in size, smaller than the tiny buttons on a baby's clothing.

Mesh with no tears, holes or loose threads that could entangle a baby.

Mesh securely attached to top rail and floor plate.
Top rail cover with no tears or holes.

If staples are used, they are not missing, loose or exposed.

Check Your Crib for Safety
An unsafe used crib could be very dangerous for your baby! Each year, about 50 babies suffocate or strangle when they become trapped between broken crib parts or in cribs with older, unsafe designs.

A safe crib is the best place to put your baby to sleep. For crib safety, look for a crib with a certification seal showing that it meets national safety standards. If your crib does not meet these guidelines, destroy it and replace it with a safe crib.

A safe crib has:
A firm, tight-fitting mattress so a baby cannot get trapped between the mattress and the crib.

No missing, loose, broken or improperly installed screws, brackets or other hardware on the crib or mattress support will help with crib safety.

No more than 2 3/8 inches (about the width of a soda can) between crib slats so a baby's body cannot fit through the slats; no missing or cracked slats.

Foe crib safety, ensure that no corner posts over 1/16th inch high are used so a baby's clothing cannot catch.

No cutouts in the headboard or foot board so a baby's head cannot get trapped

No missing, loose, broken, or improperly-installed screws, brackets, or other hardware on the crib or the mattress support.

A mattress support that does not easily pull apart from the corner posts so a baby cannot get trapped between mattress and crib.

No cracked or peeling paint to prevent lead poisoning.
No splinters or rough edges.

There have been numerous crib safety reports of accidental death or injury to young children in cribs that are in need of repair.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is concerned about crib safety and possible accidental death or injury to young children in cribs that are in need of repair. The CPSC has investigated or received reports of numerous incidents in which cribs have come apart. Many of these resulted in death.

For example, a 5-month-old infant died when he became lodged between the mattress and the side rail of his crib. A support hanger on the mattress frame had come off the hook attached to the crib end panel or corner post creating a space in which the infantís head became entrapped.

In another accident, a 6-month-old baby became entrapped and choked to death when screws securing the side rail pulled loose from the corner post of the crib creating a space between the rail and the mattress.

In yet another accident, a missing bolt caused a side rail to separate from the mattress and a 6-month-old baby became entrapped in a space between the mattress and side rail and suffocated. Similar crib safety reports of fatal accidents are repeated many times in Commission files and many more non-fatal incidents are on record in which an entrapped child was rescued.

Accidents such as these may occur when hardware intended to hold parts of the crib together has worked loose, come apart, or broken. Hardware can become worn or over-stressed as a result of childrenís playing; repeated disassembling and reassembling of cribs, such as during household moves; when new babies are born in the family; and when cribs are sold or given to another family.

Hardware also can work loose as a result of moving or cleaning the crib. On some cribs, the design is such that the mattress support hanger may easily come out of the supporting hook, allowing the mattress to drop at one corner. This can happen when changing the sheets, raising or lowering the drop side, or simply when the baby moves in the crib.

The CPSC also knows of cases in which wood screws have pulled out of the wood, machine screws and nuts have worked loose, and hooks which support the mattress have broken or bent.

A crib safety project has been initiated to work with crib manufacturers to examine the need for product standards for crib hardware and to determine the extent to which such standards would prevent injuries and deaths. For crib safety, if you have a crib, you are urged to inspect it frequently for hardware which has disengaged or needs to be repaired or replaced. The Commission also suggests:

When buying a new crib, physically examine it for stability. Look for adequate strength in the frame and headboard, a secure fitting mattress support structure, and a label certifying that the crib complies with the Commissionís standards for cribs.

For crib safety, if you buy a used crib, make sure all the hardware is present and in good condition. Make sure that when the crib is assembled, all the pieces of the crib are securely attached and the mattress fits snugly. Also, check the wood joints to be sure they are not coming apart. Check to see that the slats are no more than 2-3/8" apart -- the distance required by law for all new cribs.

On cribs in which the mattress support hanger easily disengages from the hooks on corner posts, secure the mattress support hanger firmly to the hook on the post.

If you have doubts about the condition of your crib, have the crib repaired or discard it.

The CPSC has a toll-free hotline which it encourages consumers to use to report product safety problems or to request information about product safety. The number is 800-638-CPSC. A teletypewriter number for the hearing impaired is 800-638-8270.

Source: US Consumer Product Safety Commission

For more information about baby cribs and other child safety products visit the Baby Center.

For more information on crib safety visit the U.S. Consumer Association



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