Baby Crib Safety 101
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There are several steps parents can take before buying or registering for a baby crib to ensure their little one sleeps in the safest place possible, like making sure their crib is made from non-toxic materials, features a high-quality mattress support, and allows for maximum adjustability. (Psst: Our Lola crib, now part of our exclusive Dream Team Set, ticks off all the safe-sleep boxes!) But there’s even more to do once your top-choice crib arrives in its new home. You still need to follow all the safe sleep—and safe crib—rules! Here, everything you need to know about baby crib safety!
Baby Crib Safety Must: Select the Right Crib
If you’re wondering how to choose a crib, start with safety and sturdiness…and then go for style points! To navigate what exactly makes a crib safe, take a gander at our handy-dandy crib buying guide. Here, you’ll learn about how non-toxic materials, mattress height adjustability, crib durability (and sustainability), and more should factor into your safe-sleep choice.
Baby Crib Safety Must: Room-Sharing
Babies should snooze in the same room as their parents for at least six months, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). That’s because placing your baby’s crib in your bedroom and close to (but NOT in) your bed can decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by as much as 50%. But since cribs have a big footprint, many parents opt to place their baby in a bassinet, like SNOO, for their little one’s earlier months. (SNOO has the added bonus of a special swaddle that attaches to SNOO to keep babies on their backs and calming all-night white noise and continuous rocking to help everyone’s sleep!)
Baby Crib Safety Must: Mattress Fit
All crib mattresses are not created equal! First, you want to ensure that your choice is firm and the proper fit. While all full-size crib mattresses must be at least 27-1/4 inches by 51-1/4 inches—and no thicker than 6 inches—there’s still an acceptable range of mattress dimensions. That means some mattresses may leave a little extra room between the mattress and crib. To guarantee a proper fit, stick your fingers between the mattress and the crib. If only two fingers—or fewer—fit, it’s a safe pairing .
Baby Crib Safety Must: Proper Crib Bedding
The only baby bedding your beautiful crib needs is a fitted crib sheet. That’s it! No crib bumpers (which have been recalled for suffocation and entrapment risks), no pillows (so-called “head-shaping” or otherwise), no loose blankets or quilts. Worried your baby will be cold? Simply wrap them in a swaddle blanket, and once they show signs of rolling, dress them in a wearable blanket for sleep. To make sure your baby’s fitted crib sheet is safe…
Check that the crib sheet fits snugly on your crib mattress.
The fitted sheet needs to be tucked under the mattress, so it can’t snap up and become a suffocation risk.
Never use an adult sheet on a crib mattress.
To keep baby comfy and cool with breathable, 100% GOTS certified organic cotton crib sheets.
Baby Crib Safety Must: Smart Mattress-Height Adjustment
Most cribs today allow you to adjust the mattress height so you can steadily lower your baby’s mattress as they grow, which helps to keep your little one from taking a flying leap out of the crib and onto the floor! (Falls are the most common injury associated with cribs.) Some cribs have just two or three levels to choose from but seeking out a crib with four levels of adjustment, like in our Happiest Baby Lola crib, is ideal.) The key, of course, is knowing when to lower your baby crib mattress! Here are some stay-safe rules:
Highest Crib Setting: This is the just-right height for newborns who are still quite immobile.
Middle Crib Settings: Just before your baby masters learning to sit up on their own, it’s time to bump the crib mattress height down another notch. (If your crib has four adjustable mattress heights, like the Lola crib, you’ll be able to move one more notch down before the lowest setting, making lifting your baby out of the crib easier for longer.)
Lowest Crib Setting: Once your baby is ready to pull to stand, bump the crib mattress height to the bottom setting.
Convert to Toddler Bed: It’s time to bust out the crib conversion kit and transform your bub’s crib into a toddler bed if they’ve climbed out of their crib, they’re about 3 feet tall, or when the height of the side rail is less than three-quarters of your child’s height (which is about nipple level).
Baby Crib Safety Must: Keep It Empty
Making sure your baby’s crib is safe goes beyond keeping blankets, pillows, and bumper pads out of their sleep space. It’s imperative that loveys, stuffed toys, nests, crib gyms, rolled-up towels, baby positioners, loungers, and literally everything else stay out of your baby’s crib for their first 12 months. The only items that should ever be in your sleeping baby’s crib: a fitted crib sheet, your baby (placed on their back, wearing a swaddle or sleep sack), and a pacifier.
Baby Crib Safety Must: Decorate This Way
No matter how much you love that gorgeous, framed painting of sailboats or that flea market macrame wall hanging, they do not belong above your baby’s crib! It’s so important that you do not hang anything over the crib that your baby can pull down—or that could fall on them. And if you use a baby mobile, make sure that it’s securely attached to the side rail, wall, or ceiling high enough so that you’re bub cannot reach it. (Remove the mobile when your baby can get up on their hands and knees or they’re 5 months old.)
Baby Crib Safety Must: Crib Placement
Don’t put your baby crib simply where you think it looks best, put it in the safest position. That means, place your crib away from all radiators and windows. And ensure any strings from blinds or curtains are far out of your little one’s reach. (If possible, opt for cordless window treatments.) It’s also a good idea to put your baby’s crib in a spot that doesn’t get direct sunlight in the morning or could be flooded with a beam of a streetlight at night.
More Baby Nursery Tips:
- How to Set Up a Diaper Changing Station
- Nursery Ideas That Grow With Your Baby
- How to Fold and Store Baby Clothes
- Nursery Storage Ideas to Streamline Your Space
Have questions about a Happiest Baby product? Our consultants would be happy to help! Submit your questions here.
Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.