Preparing for the arrival of your new baby is an exciting time. One of the most fun aspects of this preparation is deciding how you want to decorate your nursery. You may find yourself wondering things like, what color should the walls be? Should I choose a theme? How many diapers do I need to stock the closet with? (The answer to that one is, a lot).
Another important question to ask yourself? How can I ensure I choose a crib that’s stylish, affordable, and, most importantly, safe.
Crib safety essentially comes down to two different factors—the crib you purchase and the way you use it. In this guide, we’ll break down five crib safety tips to add to your baby nursery checklist so that you and your new baby can both sleep soundly.
#1 Find a Crib that Adheres to Safety Standards
Do you know how to choose a crib? Because the first crib safety tip is to choose the right one. There are a number of safety standards to look for when shopping for your crib. These safety standards are what let you know that the crib has been thoroughly vetted and tested.
Some specific standards to look for when choosing a crib include:1
- Compliance with Consumer Protection Safety Commission regulations – This commission researches and tests various products to ensure consumer safety and prevent injury.
- American Society for Testing and Materials Certification – This certification ensures that there are no harmful chemicals, such as phthalates, in the crib’s materials, including its paint or glue.
- Greenguard Gold Certification – A Greenguard Gold Certification indicates that your baby’s crib is free from VOCs and other harmful chemical emissions. VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are gases shed by a number of commonly used products, including many types of paints, varnishes, sealants, caulks, and adhesives.2
- Hypoallergenic materials certification – To avoid any potential irritation to your baby’s sensitive skin and respiratory tract, look for cribs made with hypoallergenic materials.
Once you’ve assembled your crib, make sure it’s sturdy by shaking it.
Can You Use an Old or Pre-Owned Crib?
Between the costs of your nursery room decor, your stockpile of diapers, and the latest new arrivals of baby clothes, preparation for your little one’s arrival can quickly add up.
This may make it tempting to accept hand-me-downs from friends and family or pull out items from your own storage closet if this baby isn’t your first child. But when it comes to cribs, is older or pre-owned safe?
The answer is, it depends!
If you have a crib that was purchased recently, it’s likely still safe to use. However, to ensure its safety, it’s best to take the following precautions:3
Determine the date the crib was originally sold – Avoid reusing any baby’s crib that was sold before June 28, 2011. Why is this date so important? In 2011, the Consumer Protection Safety Commission issued five federal regulations on crib safety, including one that banned the formerly-common drop-side crib. Any older cribs sold prior to this date do not comply with modern safety standards.
Check the Consumer Protection Safety Commission’s website – By checking the individual make and model of your new and older crib, you can confirm that it hasn’t been recalled since the time of purchase.
Make sure that you have all the parts necessary for re-assembly – If there are any screws or small parts missing from your crib and you can’t reassemble it properly, it’s not safe to use.
Ensure the crib isn’t damaged – Cracks in the wood, sharp edges, or loose crib slat can pose a safety risk for your baby. So, if your secondhand crib was banged up a bit when it was placed into storage, you may want to invest in a new one.
#2 Choose a Firm Crib Mattress
Another important step to take to make sure your baby’s crib is safe is selecting the proper crib mattress. Crib mattresses should be firm and fit snugly into the crib. This means there shouldn’t be gaps larger than two fingers between the side of the mattress and the crib.1 Otherwise, your baby’s arm or leg could become stuck in the gap.
Firmness is also an important quality, as your baby may sink deeper into a mattress that’s too plush. This, in turn, may make it easier for your baby to roll over onto their stomach during the night. Why is this a problem?
If your baby hasn’t learned to roll over independently yet, they won’t have the strength to roll themselves back onto their back. This can lead to accidental suffocation.
Even if your baby has learned to roll over independently, babies aren’t roused as easily from sleep as adults. So, if your baby accidentally rolls onto their stomach at night due to an overly plush mattress, they may stay in that newborn sleep position with their face pressed against the mattress fabric. This, again, can lead to accidental suffocation.
Fortunately, these risks are easily mitigated by choosing a firm crib mattress for your little one. Crib mattresses should also be:
You can also find crib mattresses that are waterproof and easily cleaned (two qualities you’ll want all of your baby gear to have). The Babyletto’s Pure Core Mini Crib Mattress is an excellent option, as it features a removable waterproof cover so that you can protect your mattress and easily clean-up any overnight accidents.
#3 Place Your Crib in a Safe Spot
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your baby sleep in the same room as you for at least the first six months and up to a year.4 Having your baby by your side as you sleep allows you to easily keep up with those late night feedings and diaper changes, check in on them throughout the night, and respond quickly if they begin to fuss.
However, it’s important to make sure the crib is out of reach of anything that could become a safety hazard. This includes:
- Hanging cords, such as from window blinds
- Open windows
- Loose wires
When you move your baby’s crib into their baby nursery, be sure to choose a spot that likewise adheres to these guidelines. It’s also important to keep any corded baby monitors, humidifiers, and sound machines at a safe distance so that your curious little explorer can’t reach them.
#4 Keep Your Crib Clear of Excess Items
While stuffed animals, blankets, and toys are all delightful additions to your nursery and play areas, when it comes to your baby’s crib set-up, simplicity is safest. Why?
Any item left in the crib while your baby is sleeping can pose a safety risk. For instance, if your baby turns their head to the side during sleep and comes face-to-face with a plush pillow or stuffed animal, that item can block your baby’s airway and make it difficult for them to breathe. Even crib bumpers, which used to be recommended to keep babies on their backs during sleep, are now considered a suffocation risk.
Loose blankets are also dangerous when left in the crib, as your baby could become tangled in them during the night.
But don’t worry, Mama! This doesn’t mean your baby has to go without any comforting items. A soft, fitted crib sheet made of organic cotton will give your baby a cloud-like surface to sleep on, while a wearable sleep bag or swaddle will keep them as cozy as a blanket would while still maintaining the crib safety.
#5 Put Your Baby to Sleep on their Back
Until your little one celebrates their first birthday, you should always place them on their back to sleep. Doing so reduces the risk of:
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – SIDS refers to the sudden and unexplained death of an infant during sleep.5
Carbon dioxide buildup – When a baby sleeps on their stomach, they breathe in their own breath. This can cause a buildup of carbon dioxide and a reduction in oxygen levels.
Overheating – In addition to increasing carbon dioxide levels, rebreathing exhaled hot breath can cause your baby to overheat.
Sickness – One study found that when babies are placed to sleep on their backs, rather than their stomachs, they’re less likely to develop ear infections, sinus infections, and colds.6
Even if your baby can independently roll from back to stomach and back again before the 1-year mark, you should continue to place them to sleep on their back until their first birthday.
Find a Safe Crib for a Sound Sleep with Monica + Andy
When the time comes to choose a crib, Monica + Andy can help you ensure countless nights of comfort, safety, and sweet dreams.
That’s because at Monica + Andy, we offer a number of stylish and comfortable cribs that are made of non-toxic, sustainable materials. For instance, the Babyletto Origami Mini Crib pairs a clean design with Greenguard Gold Certified materials to create a safe sleep environment for your little one.
Looking for a crib that will take your babe from early days to toddlerhood and beyond? Babyletto also offers toxin-free convertible cribs like the Hudson, which can turn into a toddler bed, or the Gelato, which first turns into a toddler bed, and then into a twin bed when your little one isn’t so little anymore!
No matter what you’re looking for, Monica + Andy is here for you every step of the way with high-quality, sustainable, safe products you can trust. Shop our extensive selection of mom and baby products today.
- Baby’s Little Place. Baby Crib Safety Standards. https://babyslittleplace.com/baby-cribs-safety-standards-new-crib-standards/
- American Lung Association. Volatile Organic Compounds. https://www.lung.org/clean-air/at-home/indoor-air-pollutants/volatile-organic-compounds
- Cheapism. Used Baby Stuff. https://blog.cheapism.com/what-baby-gear-can-you-safely-reuse-save-money-2563/
- What To Expect. Moving Your Baby from a Bassinet to a Crib. https://www.whattoexpect.com/sleep-strategies/bassinet-to-crib.aspx
- Mayo Clinic. SIDS. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sudden-infant-death-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20352800#:~:text=Sudden%20infant%20death%20syndrome%20(SIDS)%20is%20the%20unexplained%20death%2C,often%20die%20in%20their%20cribs.
- NIH. Research on Back Sleeping and SIDS. https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/research/science/backsleeping#f9
- WebMD. What are Pthalates? https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/what-are-phthalates