Learning Center

Crib Safety: How to keep your little one snuggly and safe

November 29, 2011 - 11:38am
Photo of a child in a crib

Preparing the nursery is one of the exciting joys of expectant motherhood.  A lot of thought goes into paint color, fabric selection and even furniture placement. With good reason: Sleep is an essential component of growth and development in babies and toddlers.

This past June, the National Institutes for Health in partnership with the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced new standards for U.S. crib manufacturers. The standards outlaw the sale and production of dangerous drop-side cribs, which are designed with drop-down side rails, because they run the risk of malfunctioning, wedging babies between rail and mattress and causing suffocation.  

In addition to banning drop-side cribs, the new standards require stronger crib-mattress supports,  more durable hardware and more rigorous safety testing.  As a result, the nursery should become a much safer place for baby—and there are steps you can take as a parent to make it even safer.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome refers to any sudden, unexplained death occurring in infants who are one-year old or younger. Though the cause of SIDS remains largely unknown, you should adhere to certain practices when you lay your little one down for sleep in order to reduce the likelihood of SIDS claiming another victim.

The National Institute of Child Health & Human Development has compiled a list of helpful crib-safety Tips, to reduce the risk of SIDS and contribute to a sounder sleep for both mother and child. They include:

  • Always put baby to sleep on his/her back and keep the placement consistent. Babies whose sleep position changes from back to stomach are at greater risk for SIDS. Make sure everyone who puts baby down to sleep—from grandma to a babysitter—knows to place baby on his/her back, in a crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress.
  • Save plush items for the playpen. Keepbaby on a firm mattress. Never put plush items such as pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins and pillow-like bumper pads or stuffed toys in the crib with any infant who is less than one-year old.
  • Consider using a sleeper instead of a blanket. A sleeper fits more snugly around baby, reducing SIDS risk. When you do use a blanket, place baby with feet facing the foot of the crib. Tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress that goes no higher than baby’s chest. Use only a fitted bottom sheet that’s specifically made for crib use.

Visit the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development for the complete list and to learn more about SIDS and crib safety.

What did you do to make the nursery safe and special for your baby? Let us know in the Comments section, below.

Our family- and internal-medicine doctors at MetroWest Physician Services are always on hand to answer your questions about crib safety. Make an appointment today.

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