Crib Safety Tips for Babies (How To Choose A Safe Crib)

Preparing a safe nursery for your baby, starting with their crib, is important to keep your little one safe and thriving.

So it’s essential to know crib safety tips for babies, so you can create a secure sleeping environment for them.

Without further adieu, let’s get on with it.

Crib Safety Tips for Babies Checklist

Here’s what to look for in choosing a safe crib for your baby:

It’s Not Recalled

Your baby’s safety starts with a crib that meets the latest crib safety guidelines and standards. 

So check to see if the crib has not been recalled. 

This ensures that your little one won’t be exposed to any potential hazards associated with outdated designs.

Meets Federal Standards

Choose a crib that adheres to current crib safety standards, as set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

These standards are in place to guarantee the highest level of safety for your little one.

Crib is the Right Size

According to CPSC, a full-size crib should at least have an interior dimension of 28 ± 5/8 inches (71 ± 1.6 centimeters) in width x 52 3/8 ± 5/8 inches (133 ± 1.6 centimeters) in length.

While a non-full-size crib has an interior length dimension that is either greater than 139.7 cm (55 in.) or smaller than 126.3 cm (49 3/4 in.), or, an interior width dimension either greater than 77.7 cm (30 5/8 in.) or smaller than 64.3 cm (25 3/8 in.), or both. 

So check if the crib you’re deciding on meets the size standards.

Ensure there are no gaps between the crib’s wood and the mattress where your baby’s tiny fingers or body could get trapped. A snug fit prevents any accidental entanglements.

Paint is Non-Toxic

The CPSC has a law against toxic paint so check if your crib’s manufacturer adheres to that. Always choose a crib with non-toxic paint. 

Your little one will likely explore their surroundings with their mouth, which means your baby might start chewing the crib so non-toxic paint ensures that there’s no risk of harmful substances being ingested.

No Headboard and Footboard Cutouts

Headboard and footboard cutouts might seem charming, but they can be dangerous, leading to your baby getting trapped or injured.

No Drop-Side Rails

Cribs with drop-side rails were once common but have been proven to pose risks of detachment, leading to potential accidents. A fixed-side crib is a safer choice.

Hardware is Firmly Secured

Check that all hardware, such as screws and bolts, is firmly secured. 

A sturdy crib prevents wobbling or loosening of parts, eliminating potential safety hazards.

Mattress should be Flat and Firm (If Available)

If your crib includes a mattress, make sure it’s flat and firm, for sleep safety reasons for your baby.

Mattress Fits Snugly Inside

A well-fitting mattress is crucial. 

There should be no gaps between the mattress and the crib’s sides. This prevents your baby from getting wedged in a potentially dangerous position.

Smooth Corner Posts with Right Height

Corner posts should be smooth without any decorative knobs or accents that could snag clothing or pose a choking hazard. 

Also, ensure the corner posts aren’t too high to prevent potential entanglements. It should only be over 1/16th inch high.

Right Crib Slat Width

Choose a crib design that eliminates crib slats safety risks. 

Crib slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. 

This prevents your baby’s head from getting trapped between the slats while allowing proper airflow.

There are, however, risks of your little ones’ legs getting stuck between crib slats, as babies can move so much even when sleeping

But they will eventually outgrow that experience so you don’t need to worry too much about it.

No Sharp or Jagged Edges

Inspect the crib for any sharp or jagged edges. 

Your baby’s skin is delicate, and a safe crib has smooth, rounded edges throughout.

Heavy Duty Caster Wheels (If Available)

If your crib has wheels, ensure they are heavy-duty and lockable. 

This prevents accidental movement of the crib, especially when your baby starts to become more active.

Sturdy Changing Table (If Available)

If your crib includes a changing table, make sure it’s stable and secure. 

It should have safety features to prevent your baby from accidentally rolling off.

How Do I Know If a Used Crib Is Safe?

Bringing a gently used crib into your home can be cost-effective, but safety remains paramount. Here’s how to ensure your secondhand crib is considered a safe crib:

  • Crib Is Manufactured After June 2011

Any crib manufactured after June 2011 is bound to adhere to the latest safety standards. 

This includes a ban on drop-side cribs, which have been identified as a potential hazard.

So always check the manufacturing date of the used crib before completing the purchase.

  • It’s Not Recalled

Before purchasing or accepting a used crib, research whether it has been recalled. 

The CPSC maintains a database of recalled cribs to help you make informed decisions.

  • Crib Is in Good Condition

Inspect the crib thoroughly. Check for signs of wear, damage, or missing parts. 

A crib in good condition ensures that it will continue to provide a secure environment for your baby.

  • It’s Not Modified

Avoid cribs that have been modified or altered. 

Any changes to the original design can compromise safety.

Crib Safety Certifications (And What They Mean)

When choosing a crib, look for these important certifications:

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

The CPSC certification) ensures that the crib meets the latest safety standards and regulations. This is a must-have certification so ensure that your chosen crib is CPSC certified.

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)

ASTM certification indicates that the crib has been tested for safety by an independent non-profit organization.

The ASTM F1169 is a required safety certificate for standard cribs, while the ASTM F406-22 is a required certificate for non-full-size baby cribs.

Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA)

A JPMA seal assures that the crib has undergone rigorous testing for safety and performance. 

JPMA Certification is voluntary, so it’s not a requirement. However it is based on adherence to ASTM standards, federal and state laws, and some retail requirements, providing parents more peace of mind that the crib is safe for their babies.

Greenguard Gold Certification

The Greenguard Gold certification indicates that the crib has been tested for low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ensuring a healthier indoor environment for your baby.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

GOTS certification confirms that the crib’s organic materials meet stringent environmental and social criteria.

Oeko-Tex Standard 100

The Oeko-Tex standard 100 certification ensures that the crib’s textiles are free from harmful levels of more than 100 substances known to be harmful to human health.

Safe Sleep Tips for Baby in Crib

Creating a safe sleep environment within the crib is vital for your baby’s well-being. You can check out more detailed baby-safe sleep guidelines or keep scrolling below:

  • Bare Crib for the 1st Year

For the first year, keep the crib free of pillows, quilts, comforters, soft toys, and bumper pads. A safe crib is one with minimal bedding to prevent suffocation hazards.

  • No Bumpers

Avoid using crib bumpers. While they might seem cozy, they can pose a risk of entanglement, suffocation, or strangulation.

  • No Positioners and Inclined Sleepers

Positioners and inclined sleepers are not recommended. They can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or suffocation.

  • Mattress Should Be Flat and Firm

Place baby on their back in a crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress. Avoid soft or sagging surfaces that could increase the risk of suffocation.

  • Put Baby on Their Back

Always place your baby on their back to sleep. This reduces the risk of SIDS.

You might have a little one though who prefers sleeping face down on the mattress but as much as possible, try to put your baby on their back, especially if they can’t turn and roll yet independently.

  • Move the Crib Away from Window or Cords

Position the crib away from windows and cords. This prevents strangulation hazards and keeps your baby safe from potential hazards.

Check out more crib placement and nursery layout tips here.

  • Don’t Hang Toys by Strings Nearby

Avoid hanging toys with strings on the crib. They can pose a choking or strangulation risk.

  • Yes to Room Share, No to Bed Sharing

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room-sharing for the first six to twelve months, but bed-sharing is not advised due to suffocation risks.

  • Don’t Let Your Baby Get Overheated

Maintain a comfortable room temperature. Don’t let your baby get too cold or too hot. Overheating is a risk factor for SIDS. 

FAQ on Crib Safety

How Do I Make Sure My Baby Is Safe in a Crib?

You can make sure your baby is safe in a crib by following the guidelines outlined in this article, ensuring that the crib meets the latest safety standards and certifications.

What Are 4 Tips to Keep Newborns Safe While Sleeping in a Crib?

The 4 tips to keep newborns safe while sleeping in a crib are the following:
• Place your baby on their back.
• Keep the crib free from soft bedding and toys.
• Ensure the mattress is firm and snug-fitting.
• Avoid crib bumpers and positioners.

How Old Can a Crib Be and Still Be Safe?

Any crib manufactured after June 2011 is designed to meet current safety standards.

How Far Should a Crib Be From the Wall?

The crib should be far enough from the wall that your baby wouldn’t be able to reach the windows, curtains, blinds, cords, and any other potential hazards. Position it in a safe and convenient location in the room.

Is It Safe to Use an Old Crib?

It’s safe to use an old crib as long as it adheres to current safety standards and has not been recalled. Inspect it thoroughly for any signs of wear or damage.

Are Crib Tents a Good Option for Toddlers Prone to Climbing Out of Their Cribs?

Crib tents are not a good option for toddlers prone to climbing out of their cribs as they can pose suffocation and entanglement hazards. It’s safer to transition your toddler from a crib to a floor bed or toddler bed when they’re ready.

Do Cribs Expire?

No, cribs don’t expire. Cribs don’t have an expiration date, but their safety can be compromised over time. Ensure your crib meets the latest safety standards and certifications.

Where Can I Find a List of Crib Recalls?

You can find a list of crib recalls in CPPSC’s database.

Are Baby Boxes Safe to Use Instead of a Crib?

Yes, baby boxes can be safe to use instead of a crib, if they meet safety standards and parents strictly follow guidelines for safe sleep.

Crib Safety Tips for Babies: Takeaway

Creating a safe crib is the foundation of a secure sleep environment for your little one. 

By following these crib safety tips for babies, you’ll be able to choose a safe crib for your baby, nurturing your little ones’ well-being and providing them with a cozy haven for restful slumbers. 

Remember, every precaution you take ensures a brighter, safer future for your baby. If you found these tips helpful, don’t forget to share them with fellow parents!