Choosing a crib

Choosing the right crib for your baby can be overwhelming. What should you look for in a crib for your child? Elizabeth Pletz, a nurse for Le Bonheur’s Nurse Family Partnership program, answers questions on choosing a crib.

What should parents look for in a crib for their child?
Parents should make sure the crib has not been recalled. Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) website for recalls. The slats should be no more than 2 and 3/8 inches apart, and no slats should be missing or cracked. The mattress must fit snuggly with less than two finger-widths between mattress and side of crib. Additionally, corner posts should be no higher than 1/16 of an inch above end panels. Head and footboards should not have cutouts. The crib should not have drop-down sides, and all screws and bolts should be present and tight.

Are there specific brands you should stick with when purchasing a crib?
There is no specific brand a parent should stick with when purchasing a crib, but rather they should look for safety-approved cribs, bassinets, and portable play-areas. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) authorized a variety of new regulations and testing requirements for children’s products in 2008. All manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of consumer goods must comply with the CPSIA. Thus, all new cribs, bassinets and portable play yards made after 2008 must meet these guidelines to be sold in the U.S.

What are some dangers cribs can pose for a child?

  • The mattress should be very firm and only covered by a fitted sheet. There should be no pillows, quilts, blankets, bumper pads, toys, other sleep aids or positioners in the bed. These can cause serious injuries, suffocation, and higher risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
  • Babies should always be placed on their back to sleep.
  • If using a crib with corner posts, the child’s clothes could get caught on posts, and the child could be strangled.

When does a child become too old to use a crib?
It is recommended to replace the crib with a bed when a child reaches 35 inches tall or the child can climb and/or fall over the sides.

Is there a specific location the crib should be placed in the child’s bedroom?

  • Cribs should not be near curtains or blinds. The child could get caught or strangled on cords.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep. Dress the baby in no more than one layer more of clothing than an adult would wear to be comfortable. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. A fan in the room can aid in keeping baby at a cool, comfortable temperature.
  • Additionally, room sharing—keeping baby’s sleep area in the same room where you sleep—reduces the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.