A crib that meets current safety regulations is the safest place for your baby to sleep. A crib should not be used if the child is taller than 90 cm or if he or she is able to climb out of it, whichever stage comes first. When your baby reaches this milestone, you should put him or her to sleep in a toddler or standard bed.
Some of the basic measures you need to take to ensure you are selecting the right crib for your child:
- Do not use a crib made before September 1986 as it does not meet current safety regulations. Also, cribs older than ten years are more likely to have broken, worn, loose or missing parts, and probably missing warnings or instructions. I would strongly discourage to use second hand or used cribs.
• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for putting together and using the crib. Only use those parts that are provided by the manufacturer. Your baby’s crib should not be modified in any way.
• Check often to make sure that the crib’s hardware is securely fastened and not damaged.
• Do not use cribs with decorative cut-outs, corner posts that are more than 3mm (1/8 in) in height (unless they are over 406 mm (16 in) in height) or large spaces between the bars (spacing should be no more than 6 cm or 2 3/8 in).
• Check that the mattress is firm. Mattresses that are too soft or worn down in any area could create a gap where a baby’s face could become stuck, causing them to suffocate.
• The crib mattress must not be thicker than 15 cm (6 in).
• There must not be a gap of more than 3 cm (1 3/16 in) between the mattress and any part of the crib’s sides. Push the mattress firmly against the sides of the crib to test this.
• Check often that the crib’s mattress support system is secure. Shake the crib from side to side, thump the mattress from the top and push up hard on the mattress support from underneath the crib. The mattress support system should hold the mattress firmly in place.
• If the crib has movable sides, after placing your baby in the crib, make sure both sides are upright and locked in place.
• Avoid the use of loose bedding or soft objects in your baby’s crib. Things like comforters, quilts, blankets, infant pillows, adult pillows, foam padding, stuffed toys, bumper pads and sleep positioners should not be in your baby’s sleeping area.
• Use a fitted bottom sheet made specifically for a crib mattress of the same size.Never harness or tie your baby in a crib. Your baby should not be left in a crib with a necklace, elastic band, scarf or pacifier on a long cord. These items could cause strangulation.