Baby’s Bed: Purchasing and Preparing a Crib

Of all the things you will need for your new baby, the crib is one of the most important. Your baby will be spending a lot of time in his crib, and you will want to make sure he is both safe and comfortable.

Choosing a Crib

With the recent increase in crib recalls, choosing a crib should be undertaken with caution. While recalled cribs should be pulled from stores, mistakes can happen, so be sure to check any crib you are considering against recall lists. The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers up to date recall information on their website at You can save money by buying a used crib, but be extra cautious. In addition to ensuring that the crib hasn’t been recalled, check it over carefully for any signs of damage or wear. Also, older cribs may not be up to current safety standards, so check with CPSC standards before buying.

There are three basic types of cribs: standard solid cribs, drop-side cribs, and convertible cribs. Standard cribs are solid and do not have moving parts. Drop-side cribs have one side that slides down to make it easier to get baby in and out. Convertible cribs are often drop-side cribs as well, but also convert to a toddler bed and sometimes also to a full sized bed. These cribs sometimes require the purchase of separate kits for the conversion.

Most of the crib recalls in recent years have involved drop-side and convertible cribs, which has led major retailers such as Toys R Us to remove drop-side cribs from their stores entirely. If you are certain you wish to purchase a drop-side or convertible crib, be careful choosing one. Stick to higher-end, well made models, and register your crib so that you will be notified immediately of any recall.

Setting Up a Safe Crib

In order to reduce the risk of SIDS, it is recommended that you keep the crib free of loose blankets, stuffed animals and other items that could cause suffocation. You should not use a standard crib bumper as they present a suffocation risk to your baby; however, a breathable mesh bumper is considered a safe choice for keeping baby’s arms and legs from getting caught in the rails. Remember that until your baby starts to roll over, there is really very little danger of this happening, so a bumper isn’t necessary. Aside from this type of bumper, the only things that should be in the crib are a securely fitted mattress cover and sheet.

Look for a firm crib mattress that fits snugly inside the crib. Although mattresses and cribs come in standard sizes these days, there is always room for error. Try to push a finger in between the mattress and the side of the crib. If you can fit more than one finger, the mattress isn’t snug enough.

When putting your crib together, follow the directions carefully. You should check all screws and bolts regularly to ensure everything is still tight.

Mobiles are a popular crib decoration, but make sure they are securely fastened. As soon as your baby is able to sit up on her own, the mobile should be removed as she may be able to reach it.

When you place your baby in her crib to sleep, you want to know she is safe. Follow all of these precautions when purchasing and setting up the crib, and you will have the peace of mind of knowing you have done everything possible to provide your baby with a safe place to rest her little head.

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