Crib Safety Tips: Everything You Need To Know To Keep Your Baby Safe

Mom holding newborn in nursery

You keep a close eye on your baby while they’re up and at ‘em, but there is one place where babies spend a lot of time unsupervised: their crib. That’s why crib safety is crucial!

In this article, we’ll offer some crib safety tips to help you ensure that your little one’s bed is a safe and secure place for them to snooze. But first, let’s talk briefly about sleep safety in general.

Crib Safety And Sleep Safety

Crib safety and sleep safety pretty much go hand-in-hand. Sleep safety simply has more to do with sleeping in general and includes recommendations like:

  • Sharing your room with your baby but not your bed
  • Breastfeeding for the first six months (if possible)
  • Giving your baby a pacifier when they go to sleep
  • Putting your baby to sleep on a firm sleep surface

The above guidelines are just a few of the safe sleep guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics. There are others that have to do more specifically with your baby’s crib and how it’s outfitted.

You can read our blog on sleep safety here, but we’ll cover crib safety today. Here are some tips on how to make your little one’s crib as safe as possible.

Crib Safety Tips

baby laying on back in crib

Choose A Safe Crib

This tip seems obvious. Of course you want to choose a safe crib! But knowing exactly what that means is not always clear.

To start, you’ll want to check when your crib was made. On their blog called Healthychildren.org, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends opting for a crib that was manufactured after June 2011.

Why? They write that’s “when the current safety standards banning the manufacture or sale of drop-side rail cribs became effective.

There is a good chance that an older crib no longer meets all the current safety standards, especially if it has a drop side.”

Secondly, grab your measuring tape when you go shopping for a crib. The AAP also recommends that crib slats are no more than 2 ⅜ inches apart. Similarly, you’ll want to stay away from cutouts in the headboard or footboard.

Big gaps in the slats or the headboard or footboard pose a safety hazard for your little one that can and should be avoided.

Check The Crib For Loose Parts

Once you’ve picked out a crib, you need to be sure it’s assembled correctly.

Whether you assemble the crib yourself or it comes to you put together, you’ll want to do a thorough once-over to make sure everything is a-OK.

That simply means checking to ensure there are no loose or missing parts, loose screws, sharp edges, or broken pieces.

Choose A Firm Crib Mattress

newton baby crib mattress

One of the AAP’s safe sleep recommendations is for babies to sleep on a firm sleep surface. That means they should never sleep on the couch, your fluffy bed, or pillows and blankets.

Soft, cozy surfaces might seem comfortable to you, but they pose a suffocation hazard for your little one.

When we’re talking about crib safety, this means that you’ll want to choose a firm crib mattress. Just remember that firm isn’t the same as rock-hard and uncomfortable!

The Newton Baby Crib Mattress is firm enough to provide safe sleep but much more comfortable than traditional mattresses, which are hard and wrapped in plastic. We also don’t use foam, glue, latex, or springs in the Newton Baby mattress.

Instead, this mattress’s Wovenaire® Core is made of 90% air and 10% of the same material used in yogurt cups. That makes it breathable so that when your little one rolls over in the middle of the night, they can breathe straight through the mattress!

The other advantage of a breathable mattress is that it provides airflow underneath your baby. No more sweaty backs!

Make Sure The Mattress Fits Correctly In The Crib

crib safety is important for new crib in nursery

Once you have a safe crib and a firm mattress, you’ll need to check the fit of the crib mattress in the crib.

While the sizes of cribs and mattresses are both regulated by the government, there’s a bit of wiggle room. The safest thing to do is to check for yourself that the fit is snug!

While the mattress should fit easily into the crib without having to be forced, a large gap between the edge of the mattress and the inside of the crib is a big safety risk for your baby.

How can you know if the gap is OK? When the mattress is inside the crib, you should not be able to fit more than two fingers between it and the crib frame.

You’ll also need to keep the mattress height in mind. The AAP says,

“Before your baby can sit, lower the mattress of the crib to the level where he cannot fall out either by leaning against the side or by pulling himself over it. Set the mattress at its lowest position before your child learns to stand.”

Consider Crib Placement

Nursery with crib safety set up properly

With a safely assembled crib, the next thing to think about is where you position it.
It’s important to choose a safe place in the nursery.

Avoid putting the crib within reach of curtains, blinds, cords, lamps, and the like. Your baby’s curious hands should not be able to grab anything outside of the crib.

Additionally, if you hang a wall decoration or mobile above your baby’s crib, make sure that it’s securely attached to the wall. If you want to play safe and skip the wall hanging altogether, there are lots of fun nursery paint ideas or wall decals that look adorable above cribs!

Use Only A Fitted Sheet

baby laying in crib

You’re getting closer and closer to a safe bed that is ready and waiting to welcome your little one!

Crib safety includes choosing a safe crib, assembling it correctly, and putting it in a safe location, but what goes inside the crib is also a huge part of crib safety.

When it comes to bed linens for babies, they should include a fitted sheet and nothing else. No top sheet and no blankets, which are both safety hazards for babies.

Choose a cozy, cute fitted sheet, like Newton Baby’s Breathable, Organic Cotton Sheets. These hypoallergenic sheets are made of pre-shrunk, organic muslin cotton. They’re machine washable for the most hygienic sleep surface and incredibly soft on your baby’s sweet skin!

Finally, since you shouldn’t cover your baby with a blanket or top sheet, use a swaddle or sleep sack to keep them warm and cozy all night.

Newton Baby’s Organic Swaddle Blankets are completely breathe-through to help keep your baby at the perfect temperature and avoid overheating.

We’ll also let you in on a hint about swaddle blankets like these: they’re great multitaskers! They can easily double as a burp cloth, stroller cover, changing pad, or nursing cover.

Keep The Crib Bare

Another rule for sleep and crib safety: keep the crib bare. As we just mentioned, that means no top sheets or blankets but — sorry to break it to you — it also applies to lots of other adorable baby items.

As cute as baby pillows, stuffed animals, and toys are, the crib is not the place for them. In fact, it’s best to avoid crib bumpers as well. They might seem like a good idea, but the AAP recommends against them.

To sum it up: only a fitted sheet and your baby should go in the crib. After all, your baby is cute enough that you won’t need anything else in the crib!

Put Your Baby On Their Back

Once you’ve been to the hospital or gone to adopt your little one, it’s time to lay them in the safe crib that you’ve prepared for them!

That brings us to the last crib safety tip: put your baby on their back to sleep. This goes for naps as well as nighttime.

Just remember that once your baby gets the hang of rolling over, you won’t have to tiptoe into their room and turn them if they roll over in the middle of the night. But if that makes you nervous, a breathable mattress might give you the peace of mind you need to rest easy!

Crib Safety For Your Little One

baby laying in crib with proper crib safety

Your baby will spend a lot of time in their crib, and almost all of that time is unsupervised. That’s why crib safety is so important.

With the guidelines we listed above, you can easily cross your T’s and dot your I’s to make the crib a secure place for your baby!

Choose a safe crib, opt for a firm mattress like Newton Baby’s breathable Crib Mattress, place the crib in a safe corner of the nursery, and outfit it with Newton Baby’s Breathable, Organic Cotton Sheets.

When you take the right measures, your baby can sleep safely and soundly at night — and you’ll have peace of mind, too!

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