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Crib Safety

Your baby will spend a lot of time in the crib, napping during the day and sleeping at night. It's very important to make sure it's a safe environment. Always place your baby to sleep on their back to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Here are other important ways to make sure a crib is safe for your baby.

How Can I Make Sure a Crib Is Safe?

Check any crib for safety before placing your baby in it — whether it's a new crib or a hand-me-down that you use at home, or a crib your baby uses at daycare or at a relative's home.

Make sure that:

  • The crib was made after 2011 to be sure it meets the most current safety requirements
  • The slats are no more than 2-3/8 inches (6 centimeters) apart and aren't cracked, loose, splintered, or missing.
  • There are no decorative cutouts on the headboard or footboard in which the baby could become caught.
  • There are no sharp or jagged edges.
  • The sides do not drop.
  • No screws are sticking out and all screws are accounted for.
  • Tightly attached corner posts are no more than 1/16 inch (1.5 millimeters) high. This is so a child’s clothing can’t get stuck on the post.

Inside the crib, make sure that:

  • The crib sheet snugly fits the mattress (never use an adult sheet).
  • The mattress is flat and fits snugly against the sides of the crib and there aren't big gaps between the mattress and the crib.
  • If your child can stand, the mattress is at its lowest position.
  • The mattress is firm, not soft.
  • Soft toys, comforters, blankets, and pillows (including infant positioners) are never kept in the crib.
  • There are no bumpers in the crib.
  • There are no mobiles or toys with strings or ribbons that your baby could reach.
  • You remove any mobiles when your baby starts pushing up on the hands and knees, or by age 5 month (whichever comes first).

Also check that:

  • There are no cords from drapes or window shades anywhere near the crib or within the baby's reach.
  • The crib isn't subject to a safety recall (check the CPSC's website).

What Else Should I Know?

If you're expecting a baby or you already have a child, it's a good idea to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the Heimlich maneuver.

Reviewed by: Melanie L. Pitone, MD
Date Reviewed: Aug 11, 2023

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