Topic of the Month

September 2010
Snug As A Bug...

Nothing is more peaceful than a sleeping baby- the sound of their breath in and out, an occasional smile, stretch, or coo. You could watch them for hours! Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), you have to sleep too.

The fact is, your baby’s sleep environment, whether a crib, bassinet, cradle, or play yard should be a safe haven where your baby can rest comfortably and allow you time to rest as well.

Each year hundreds of deaths occur when children are placed in a sleep environment that is not specifically designed for children. The safest place for a baby and child is in a fully functional, properly assembled crib, cradle, bassinet, portable play yard, or toddler bed.

All new cribs on the market today must meet minimum government requirements. In addition, there are consensus performance standards, which are established by ASTM International with involvement of the government and recognized experts, to which JPMA certifies cribs, cradles/bassinets, portable play yards, toddler beds, bed rails and other durable infant products.

Recent recalls of cribs aren’t always a bad thing because they highlight the importance of proper assembly and use. Cribs are intended to last for years (or multiple births) when properly cared for. So, with some careful planning, naptime and nighttime can be a pleasant and safe experience for both you and your baby.

Tips for Selecting A Crib

  • Infants should ALWAYS sleep in a crib, which meets current Federal and ASTM standards.
  • The crib mattress should fit snugly with no more than two fingers width, one-inch, between the edge of the mattress and the crib side. Otherwise, the baby can get trapped between the mattress and the side of the crib.
  • No pillow-like bumpers.
  • Look for the JPMA Certification Seal 
Tips for Using a Crib
  •  Remember to ALWAYS keep the drop side up when the baby is in the crib.
  • NEVER place the crib near windows, draperies, blinds, or wall mounted decorative accessories with long cords.
  • Make sure there are no missing, loose, broken, or improperly installed screws, brackets or other hardware on the crib or the mattress support.
  • Crib slats or spindles should be spaced no more than 2 3/8" apart, and none should be loose or missing.
  • Never use a crib with corner posts over 1/16 of an inch above the end panels (unless they're over 16" high for a canopy). Babies can strangle if their clothes become caught on corner posts. These should be unscrewed or sawed off, and the remaining end panel should be sanded smooth.
  • No cutout areas on the headboard or footboard so baby's head cannot get trapped.
  • ALWAYS use a crib sheet that fits securely on the mattress, wraps around the mattress corners and stays securely on the mattress corners.
  • No cracked or peeling paint, splinters or rough edges.
  • Use bumper pads only until the child can pull up to a standing position. Then remove them so baby cannot use the pads to climb out of the crib.
  • Mobiles should also be removed when baby can pull himself or herself up.
  • NEVER place infants to sleep on pillows, sofa cushions, adult beds, waterbeds, beanbags, or any other surface not specifically designed for infant sleep. 

For Babies Under 12 Months

  • Normal, healthy infants should ALWAYS sleep on their backs unless otherwise advised by a pediatrician.
  • Only a fitted sheet, mattress pad, and/or waterproof pad should be used under baby.
  • When baby is put to sleep, remove pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, pillow-like stuffed toys, and other pillow-like products from the crib.
  • Cover baby with a thin covering, such as a crib blanket, receiving blanket or other blankets specifically designed for infants, only reaching as far as baby's chest, and tuck the covering around the crib mattress. For newborns, consider swaddling.
  • Do not overdress your baby. Consider using a sleeper, wearable blanket, or other sleep clothing as an alternative to any covering. 

For more safety tips on sleep related products, including videos visit www.cribsafety.org or www.babysafety.month.org .