When you put your baby down for a nap or at bedtime, you'll rest much easier if you know that his crib environment is as safe as can be.

Crib materials should not be able to smother. If bumper pads are used, they should fit around the entire crib, and have at least six straps (one at each corner and one on each long side of the crib) securing them in place. The ties that hold the bumpers should not be long enough that your child can chew on them or entangle a finger or toe. Remove all pillows, thick quilts, heavy blankets, and toys from the crib while your child is in the crib. If you're concerned about the cold, dress your baby in a blanket sleeper. Use only heavyweight, rubberlike mattress protectors. Never use thin, trash-bag-weight plastic coverings on the mattress, which can cling to your child's face and suffocate him.

Never use plush materials. Children under age one should never sleep on plush materials such as a waterbed, heavy quilt, beanbag-type chair, pillow or lambskin, since they can easily suffocate.

Use cotton or synthetic bedding especially if your child has allergies, or if your family has a history of allergies. Wool fibers are more likely to produce allergic reactions in susceptible kids. If your child is severely allergic, encase the mattress in covers designed to reduce or eliminate allergens.

Place your child's bed in a safe spot. It should be away from radiators, heating vents, lamps, or other plugged-in appliances, windows, and especially away from window-shade or window-blind cords.

Never hang objects from the crib or bed. Never tie a toy or an item such as a laundry bag from the bedpost or crib slats, since the string could pose a risk of strangulation.


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