Tori Kropp, RN / Baby Care Basics


Over the next two years, your child will spend countless unsupervised hours snoozing in her crib. You'll both sleep better if you review these important safety precautions.

- To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) always put your child to sleep on her back or side. Likewise, don't overdress your baby or overheat the room. Also, keep in mind that second-hand smoke has been linked to SIDS. Breastfeeding may reduce your baby's risk.

- Make sure that your crib meets current safety standards. Slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, and the drop-side must lock firmly into place. To check on a particular model, or for more information on crib safety, contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission

- Choose a firm mattress that fits snugly inside the crib frame. If you're able to wedge two or more fingers between the mattress and the crib, you need a larger mattress.

- The fitted sheet must have at least two inches of excess fabric beneath the mattress. The reason: If the sheet is too small it can slip off and entangle the baby.

- Bumpers should be the same size as the crib, leaving no room for your baby to accidentally get wedged between them and the bed rail. They should also be secured to the crib in at least six spots using strings no more than six inches long.

- Do not place pillows, lambskin, stuffed animals or even thick, fluffy blankets in the crib with your infant. Soft bedding can increase your child's risk of suffocation.

- Once your baby gets close to sitting up on her own, lower the mattress to the bottom setting. If there's a mobile over the crib, remove it or move it close enough to the ceiling so that your baby can't reach it, as it can be a strangulation hazard.