By Lauren Daurizio
Kids In Danger
Cribs are possibly the most important investment a parent can make in their child’s safety, the only product that a parent is meant to leave their baby in unsupervised. So how can a baby’s sleep environment be as safe as it can be? By making the crib environment totally bare, and making sure the crib itself meets the latest safety standards.
Kids In Danger and the Consumer Product Safety Commission both recommend the “less is more,” bare approach to cribs. Some countries, like Finland, have taken that to the extreme. Parents have ditched cribs for newborns in favor of cardboard boxes lined with firm mattress pads, which they receive as part of their government-issued Maternity Package. Since implementing this program, Finland’s infant mortality rates have dropped from almost 90 per thousand to less than 5.
There is no such program in for American infants. In fact, quite the opposite. There is a huge market for visually appealing and embellished cribs. However, there have been 48 deaths related to decorative bumper padding alone, as described in this report by the CPSC. Despite the visual appeal, a bare crib is the safest, a position endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. A crib should never contain blankets, quilts, bumpers, stuffed animals, or sleep positioning devices.
The other half of making a safe sleep environment is the crib itself. The latest CPSC safety standard for cribs went into effect as of June 28th, 2011. All cribs manufactured after that date have to comply with these 5 new federal safety regulations:
- Traditional drop-side cribs cannot be made or sold, and immobilizers and repair kits for said cribs are not allowed.
- Wood slats must be made of stronger woods, to prevent breakage.
- Crib hardware must have anti-loosening devices to keep it from coming loose or falling off.
- Mattress supports must be more durable.
- Safety testing must be more rigorous.
In order to have the safest crib possible for your baby, the crib must have been manufactured after the June 28th, 2011 date, not just bought after that date.
To summarize, your baby is safest in a crib when:
- The crib meets the new CPSC standards put in place after June 28th, 2011.
- They are sleeping on their back.
- They have a onesie or wearable blanket to keep them warm, not a regular blanket.
- The mattress is firm and fits tight around the edges of the crib.
- There is nothing else in the crib, like toys or bumper pads.
Being sure that the crib is both up to the current standard and a safe environment for the baby to sleep in is simple for parents and potentially life-saving for infants. Check out KidsInDanger.org for more information about child product safety and what you can do to help. Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for the latest safety news and recall alerts, and sign up for email alerts!