Crib Safety

Crib Safety

Topic Overview

The crib is the one place where babies and young children are regularly left unsupervised. To help keep your child safe, use recommended equipment properly and update features of the crib as your child grows.

Crib safety standards

The strict guidelines for crib construction help prevent many accidents. If a crib does not meet current safety standards, your baby may be injured.

A properly constructed crib has:footnote 1

  • Less than 2 3/8 inches (60 mm) of space between slats. This prevents a child's head from becoming trapped.
  • No cutout designs or spaces if there is an otherwise solid headboard or footboard. A child's head, hands, arms, or legs can get stuck.
  • No corner posts. Clothing can attach to these posts and injure or strangle a child.
  • Tight and secure screws, bolts, and other construction materials. Check these parts every week. A physically active child can loosen these structures, and the crib can collapse.
  • Lead-free paint. Older cribs may have paint that is lead-based. Babies can get lead poisoning from chewing and gnawing on a crib with lead-based paint.

Don't use an old crib. And if a crib has missing or broken parts, don't use the crib and don't try to fix it yourself. Get a crib that does not need any repairs. For more information on crib safety, call the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) at 1-800-638-2772.

Crib hazards

Crib-related injuries also are caused by unsafe or improperly used accessories. Injuries can also occur as your child grows bigger. Be aware of the common crib hazards. Make sure you:footnote 1

  • Use only mattresses designed for the crib. You should not be able to fit more than two fingers in the space between the mattress and crib. Also, remove any plastic covering from the mattress.
  • Help prevent your child from falling out of the crib, the leading cause of crib accidents, by adjusting the mattress level as he or she grows. Start lowering the mattress no later than when your child begins to sit with little help. Adjust the mattress to its lowest setting by the time your baby can stand.
  • Keep cribs—as well as all other furniture and large objects—away from windows to prevent serious falls.
  • Do not place the crib near drapes or blinds. Window cords can get wrapped around a child's neck. When your child is 35 in. (89 cm) tall, he or she has outgrown the crib and should sleep in a bed.
  • Remove mobiles and activity gyms from the crib by the time your child can push up on his or her hands and knees or is 5 months of age, whichever comes first. These are strangulation hazards for children who can get on their hands and knees.
  • Don't use bumper pads or other products that attach to crib slats or sides. They could suffocate or trap your baby.
  • Never use a sleep positioner. Using a sleep positioner to hold a baby on his or her side or back can be dangerous.
  • Keep soft items and loose bedding out of the crib. Items such as blankets, stuffed animals, toys, and pillows could suffocate or trap your baby. Dress your baby in sleepers instead of using blankets.

Movable side rails are a safety hazard, and new cribs are no longer made with them. If your crib has the kind of side rail that can be raised and lowered, always raise it and secure it properly when your child is in the crib.

References

Citations

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (2009). Keeping your child safe. In SP Shevlov et al., eds., Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, 5th ed., pp. 457–506. New York: Bantam.

Credits

Current as of: February 10, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
John Pope MD - Pediatrics

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.