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Safety Tips For Choosing a Crib

Your baby will in all probability spend more time in its crib than anywhere else, so it stands to reason, therefore, the crib should be both safe and secure. Wanting a safe and secure crib, and actually choosing one are two very different things. Are you aware of the criteria your crib should be meeting to be deemed safe? Did you know, for example, that drop side cribs have been banned in the U.S (the ones where one side can lower with the release of a latch)? Starting June 2011 it will be illegal to manufacture, sell or resell these items in the country? The reason being, of course, the very sad spate of baby deaths attributed to these drop side cribs (32 since 2001).

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the United States has specific guidelines which you can follow when it comes to buying one of these cribs for babies. Although it must be stressed that most modern cribs are now constructed to stringent crib safety standards, these guidelines will more than come into their own if, for example, you are looking to purchase a second-hand crib for your baby.

These guidelines range from the blindingly obvious, to the not so obvious but, guidelines they are and they’re there for a reason. Let’s take a brief look at these guidelines in terms of buying the crib, starting with the blindingly obvious and working our way down to the not so apparent:

  • All parts of the crib should fit firmly together and the wood must be smooth and free of splinters.
  • All surfaces of the crib must be painted with lead-free paint and generally safe for use on baby furniture. You must also check for any signs of cracked or peeling paint.
  • Any hardware that comes with the crib must be present and be part of the original structure. Never replace original components with parts purchased from the local hardware store because these in all likelihood will not fit properly.
  • Follow all instructions that came with the crib properly (including setup, maintenance and safety).
  • Ensure that the mattress is the right fit for the crib so that baby can’t trap any part of their body down the sides. As a general rule of thumb, if you are able to fit more than your two fingers in the space between the side of baby’s crib and the mattress, this mattress and crib shouldn’t be used in conjunction with each other.
  • The crib’s slats should be two-and-three-eighths inches or less apart from each other as any wider than this increases the chances of baby falling through, or the body or head getting stuck.
  • The two end panels (the “headboard” and “footboard” ends) should only be of solid construction and should not have any kind of decorative cut-outs. Cut-outs have been known to trap a baby’s head.
  • The four corner posts must be flush with both end panels; if not flush then they should be very tall (like posts found on a canopy type bed). The reason for this is to prevent any garments of clothing from catching and possibly resulting in strangulation.
  • Ensure the baby crib has Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification. This will leave you in no doubt that the crib has been tested for safety and quality.

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