If your crib has any of these unsafe features, it’s time to buy a new one

Quick notes

  • The biggest reason to trade in your old crib is if it has sides that drop-down.

  • If any of your crib parts are lose or broken, it’s safer to purchase a new crib.

  • Children under one year old should only be in a bare crib without any loose blankets, bumpers, pillows, or stuffed animals.

When it comes to a baby’s safety, there’s a lot of information out there that can be confusing for new parents. Just when you think you have something down, your pediatrician says one thing and a well-meaning aunt says another. Between recalls and illnesses, caring for a tiny human can be overwhelming.

If you want to make sure the crib you’re using follows the current safety recommendations, here’s a round-up of everything you need to know about the new guidelines.

New crib safety standards

For almost thirty years, regulations for cribs have remained the same. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) massively overhauled the rules for crib safety in 2010 which included a ban on any cribs with a drop-down side.

In addition to fixed sides, cribs today need to have stronger support systems and more durable hardware. Cribs must also go through more rigorous safety testing.

When putting a crib or play yard together, always make sure you follow the assembly and safety instructions exactly. You should also never add any additional mattresses or wedges to a crib. A crib that is poorly put together is dangerous.

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If your crib has any of these features, it’s time for a new one

The biggest reason to trade in your old crib is if it has sides that drop-down. The idea of the drop-down side was to help parents access their child, making getting them in or out easier. Since 2012, dropdown cribs have been recalled in all hotels, furniture rental companies, and in childcare centers.

If any of your crib parts are lose or broken, it’s safer to purchase a new crib. Loose screws or parts can not only be choking hazards but they can also make the crib unstable. If a crib isn’t firmly put together, there’s a higher chance it can collapse on top of a child.

You should also never use a crib that is over ten years old. Even if the crib is in good condition, chances are the slats are too far apart. In recent years, cribs have been made with smaller gaps between slats. This helps prevent a little arm or leg from getting stuck in one of the sides.

If any of the slats on the sides are broken you need to stop using the crib. Infants have a higher risk of suffocating if their bodies are stuck between a broken slat.

Additional safe sleep tips

In addition to a proper crib, there are a few other key safety tips to remember. First, when it comes to safe sleep, bare is always best. Children under one year old should only be in a bare crib without any loose blankets, bumpers, pillows, or stuffed animals.

When it comes to dressing your child, while you may think you should bundle up your baby, they should actually sleep on the cooler side. To keep them warm, you can use a wearable blanket such as a sleep sack. In a wearable blanket, the baby’s arms will be out so they will be able to unblock their faces and reduce the risk of suffocation. A sleep-sack will fit snuggly on their body so there is nothing lose for them to pull over their faces.

For a newborn, remember that as soon as a baby shows signs of rolling over, stop swaddling them so that their arms are out. A newborn baby should also always be placed on their backs to sleep.

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