Keep the Crib Bare
You should skip all soft objects and loose bedding -- including bumpers, quilts, pillows, and toys -- in the crib for the entire first year. That's a hard one for many parents, says pediatrician James Schmidt, M.D., cofounder of Child Safety House Calls, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. "I call it the baby-shower effect. You get this cute quilt, and it's painful to learn you can't use it," he says. Dr. Schmidt tells parents to hang the quilt on the nursery wall instead. If you want to protect your child from the crib bars, it's okay to use mesh bumpers with breathable holes. Also, don't let your baby sleep in a hammock or another device that has a pillowy part near her head.