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Children's Crib Safety

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Crib and Bassinet Safety

The best and safest place for babies and children to sleep is in their own bassinets or cribs. Many families have cribs or bassinets that are handed down from generation to generation. Cribs and bassinets that have been handed down from generation to generation should be checked over to ensure they meet current safety guidelines. If they do not, alterations should be made–or a new crib or bassinet may need to be purchased.

What to Look for in a Bassinet


  • Wide base so the bassinet is stable and sturdy, and not easily tipped over.
  • Smooth surface--no protruding hardware.
  • Locking Legs.
  • Firm and snug fitting mattress.

What to Look for in a Crib

  • Slats should be no more than 2 3/8" wide. This will keep a baby’s head from becoming lodged between the slates.
  • Crib should not have any decorative cut outs on the end panels that could be used for climbing feet, or as a place where a child could stick head, or arms and legs through.
  • The mattress should be the appropriate size for the crib. A mattress that is too small may cause an infant to role and lodge himself or herself between the mattress and side panels, which could cause injury or suffocation.
  • Cribs that have drop sides should be at least nine inches above the mattress when in a lowered position.
  • When the drop side is raised, it should measure at least 26 inches above the mattress.
  • Cribs should have a mechanism which allows a mattress to be raised or lowered as needed. Inspect these devices and ensure that they do not jiggle loose or knock out with ease.

What to Avoid

  • A family heirloom which dates before 1973. These models do not meet federal guidelines.
  • Second hand cribs which have splinters, are discontinued, recalled, or do not meet safety guidelines.
  • Cribs with decorative touches which could tear off, or contain lead paint.

General Tips

  • Begin searching for your crib or bassinet well before you will need it.
  • When choosing a crib or bassinet, do the “shake test.” This will let you know if the crib or bassinet rattles or if it does not seem secure or sturdy.
  • Fully operate all mechanisms of a crib or bassinet before purchasing. This will enable you to see if everything is in proper order, as well as the ease of operation.

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