Is Your Child's Crib Safe? 9 Steps You Have to Take Now

You've probably read a lot in the news lately about efforts to ban the selling of drop side cribs. Cribs with drop sides have been blamed for the deaths of infants because babies got caught and suffocated in the space between the mattress and side rail. In these cases, the hardware supporting the drop side became faulty and allowed the side of the crib to pull away from the mattress.

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Despite the recent recalls, cribs are still the safest environment for children. The key is to take proper cautionary measures when purchasing, assembling, and maintaining them.

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The Good Housekeeping Research Institute recommends you follow these guidelines:

  1. Look for a crib certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA).
  2. When choosing a crib, be sure slats or spindles are spaced no more than 2 3/8" apart.
  3. Don't buy a crib with any cutout areas on the headboard or footboard - such cutouts could allow your baby's head to get trapped.
  4. Don't select a crib with corner posts over 1/16" above the end panels (unless they are over 16" high to support a canopy). Babies can strangle if their clothes become caught on corner posts. Unscrew or saw off the corner posts and sand the remaining end panels until they are smooth.
  5. Don't use a hand-me-down crib unless you are sure it meets current federal and ASTM standards.
  6. When assembling a crib, make sure you follow the crib manufacturer's instructions.
  7. Check all crib hardware and tighten nuts, bolts, and screws frequently. After a crib is moved, be sure all mattress support hangers are secure. Check hooks regularly to be sure none are broken or bent, since loose or open hooks may allow the mattress to fall.
  8. Do not repair any part of the crib without hardware that's approved by the crib manufacturer.
  9. If you have a crib with a drop down side, always make sure the drop side latch cannot be easily released by your child, and frequently check the hardware to make sure it is not damaged or deformed. If it is, you should stop using the crib immediately.
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