Babyproofing Your Home: Crib
- The crib has to be the one place you feel comfortable leaving your child alone, so buy a new one if you can. Used cribs grow rickety as their hardware gets worn down or goes missing, and vintage cribs are likely to have dangerous openings or headboards.
- Don't hang anything (pictures, shelves) over the crib or the changing table. It's not worth the risk that something could come off and fall on your baby.
- The exception: You can attach a mobile to baby's crib rail or to the side of the changing table, but remember that it's supposed to be seen and not touched. Most mobiles have strings and small parts, so once your child can push up on his hands and knees (by 5 or 6 months), put them away.
- Make sure the mattress is at the right height. Most cribs allow you to adjust it. The higher levels make it easier to lift a newborn out of the crib, but they become dangerous when your child is able to pull herself to standing. Around the 6-month mark, move the mattress to its lowest setting.
- Let baby sleep unencumbered. Don't bundle an infant in blankets or comforters (though a wearable blanket is fine); he can become entangled and unable to free himself. Don't add pillows, quilts, sheepskins, stuffed animals, or dolls to the crib; these can lead to suffocation and/or overheating, which are thought to be two leading causes of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Always put your baby to sleep on her back, not on her stomach. This practice has significantly reduced the number of SIDS deaths.
- Whether baby sleeps in a crib, bassinet, or play yard, use the correct sheet. Making do with a crib sheet in the bassinet or a twin sheet in the crib means you won't have a snug fit and baby could get entangled.