Preparing for the baby is exciting for every parent. Providing a fun, colorful, and above all safe environment for a baby to grow is an exciting, new experience that brings joy to every home. Designing a baby’s room always starts with a crib. There are many different kinds available, so how do you know which one will be perfect for your newborn? Here are some guidelines to ease the process.
Go for the basics
In 2011 new requirements were implemented regarding the crib models due to the numerous infants’ deaths that were caused by improper designs. Namely, drop-down cribs were banned that could have one side to be lowered. Babies were getting stuck by the dropping side causing them to choke. Since then many parents opted for safer, basic models. They don’t come with all bells and whistles, but rather just the basic wooden frame without any designer’s details. The experience has shown that these are the safest baby beds where the hazard of getting tangled up and choking is brought down to the minimum. Further, following over 30 deaths due to the crib’s designs, more rigorous testing of the cribs was put in place regarding their durability along with the warnings of the potential dangers.
New or used?
If possible, always buy a new crib for your newborn. Older cribs did not fall under new regulations and they are usually made with potential dangers like decorative sides, knobs, and other details that your baby could get caught up. Manufacturers of the new models are obliged to follow safety standards and clearly display labeling about hazards and the year of the manufacturing. However, just to be on the safe side, when shopping for the new crib take some additional safety measures.
Make sure that the spacing between bars is not more than 2 3/8 in since babies could get their heads stuck if the bars are spread apart more. Also, decorative designs are not recommended, especially the ones with spiked corners and such that can catch babies’ clothing. When buying a new one check out for any sticking screws and bolts to prevent babies to get hurt. In any case, new, simple ones are your best bet to have peace of mind while your newborn is sleeping.
Double-check the quality
Metal cribs last longer but are more susceptible to lose design. In time cribs tend to become shaky with even some sides detach from the frame. This poses a danger since babies could get their hands and feet stuck in between. At the store, a simple shake test could give you some idea of the quality of the workmanship. If you see that the sides are not firmly attached, or some lose screws dangling, move on. Wooden cribs are sturdier and more durable. However, even they can show some signs of distress. Wood can easily break and reveal some spaces between the frame and the rails. Also, safety bars can become lose making more space between them which is considered one of the most dangerous issues.
Buy the appropriate mattress
While at the store it would be best to buy a mattress in one trip. Crib mattresses have very specific measurements, W27 ¼ and L 51 5/8, with a maximum thickness of 6 inches. Most mattresses fit into these measurements, however, not each one fits every crib. Cribs have different dimensions and designs, so try it out and check the spacing between the crib and the mattress. If you can stick more than two fingers in between, your baby can probably stick his whole hand.
Mattress and crib should fit tightly, without any loose screws, and unnecessary spacing. Lose parts of the crib caused a lot of infants’ deaths in the crib throughout the years, so from time to time make sure to double-check for anything that does not tighten enough. The crib and mattress should fit like a hand and glove. As far as materials of the mattress’ check out Parenthood Guide for one of the best organic, non-toxic crib mattresses.
Again, make it simple. Your baby won’t care about the designer’s details. A simple sheet with the elastic on each corner is perfect. If you’re taking some used ones from friends and family, check if the elastic is still strong since the sheet can get lose and slip from the mattress. Bumpers are adorable, and they make every crib look like a fairytale bed. In case you get them in the package as part of the bedding throw them right away. Many babies choked on them, and they are considered to be the number one hazard in the crib. Bow ties with dangling ends are super-dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. Safety is the most important, not the look. Further, resist the urge to put any blankets and stuffed toys in the crib. Newborns can easily suffocate on either one. Basically, keep everything out of the baby’s reach.
Cribs come in boxes, completely dissembled. If you’re handy and think you can do it, go for it, but closely follow the instructions. If in doubt, don’t do it. Pay for the delivery crew to assemble the crib for you. They are professionals who did that thousands of times and have the knowledge and experience to do it safely and quickly. A note – assemble the crib in the room where the baby will be sleeping, since some cribs, once put together, won’t fit through the doorway. Further, think about where are you going to place the crib. It should be away from any hanging pictures on the wall, away from the windows, lamps, and any furniture that can jeopardize the baby’s safety.
The height of the mattress
Almost every crib model has this feature where you can adjust the mattress height. As the babies grow, they will be able, at some point, to stand up and jump over the railings. Monitor your child’s growth, and if you can see that he or she is trying to stand on her own, lower the mattress to avoid the baby getting out of the crib. Many have several levels of adjustments, so this shouldn’t be a problem.