In the first few years of life, your baby will probably spend more time in his or her crib than any other single place. Naturally, you want your crib and nursery to be welcoming, comfortable, and most of all, safe.
There are a number of steps you can take to safety-proof your baby's crib, according to experts such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the National Safety Council, and First Candle.
First and foremost, ALWAYS place your baby to sleep on his or her back. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) rates have dropped by more than 50% since the America's "Back to Sleep" Campaign was introduced in 1994. (For more on this, see our companion article, "What Every Parent Should Know about SIDS".
In addition, experts recommend the following crib safety guidelines:
And of course, parents are urged to avoid using drop-side cribs entirely. The CPSC has banned the sale of traditional drop-side cribs effective June, 2011, while toughening other crib safety standards. The drop-sides are at risk of detaching, which poses an entrapment danger. (For an up-to-date list of recalled cribs, visit http://www.cpsc.gov.)
Finally, be ready to modify baby's crib as he matures. The AAP recommends removing mobiles and hanging toys when baby begins to push up on his hands and knees or at five months, whichever occurs first. In addition, as soon as baby begins standing up, set the mattress at its lowest position.
To learn more about crib safety, visit:
American Academy of Pediatrics - www.aap.org
National Safety Council - www.nsc.org
First Candle/SIDS Alliance - www.sidsalliance.org
Consumer Product Safety Commission - www.cpsc.gov
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