Crib Safety 101

Jill Bertelsen
Many parents stress and worry about the first night of having baby home from the hospital. The parents themselves wake many times a night and pace back and forth wondering, “Is my baby breathing?” “Is he going to be okay?” “How do I know if he is safe?” These are all valid concerns. Baby sleep may be intimidating at first, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many precautions that parents can take to ensure a safe sleeping environment for their newborn. These tips will set you up for a stress-free night’s rest (or nap!)

The American Academy of Pediatrics is a great resource to check frequently for safe sleep tips. Some of those tips include the following for infants age birth to 6-12 months:

The sleep surface should be:

  •     Firm and flat
  •     Void of soft bedding such as blankets, pillows, or soft toys
  •     Separate from parents or siblings--The Children's Hospital of Colorado found that 69% of infant deaths occurred from co-sleeping.
  •     A certified sleep space such as a crib, bassinet, or play yard, not a sleeper, bouncer, swing, or similar products

The crib should have:

  •     An appropriate sized mattress with no gaps on the edges
  •     Tight-fitted sheets
  •     No bumpers
  •     Clearance from any loose cords, strings, or curtains
  •     A close distance to the parent’s bed for quick access

The bedroom environment should be:

  •     Between 68-72 ℉
  •     Quiet, void of any distractions
  •     Playing white noise
  •     Dark, with very limited light use
  •     Free from smoke, alcohol, or illicit drugs

The baby should be:

  •     Placed on their back for sleep
  •     Swaddled properly
  •     Offered a pacifier before put to sleep
  •     Fed with a clean diaper before put to sleep
  •     Up to date on immunizations and checkups with a pediatrician
  •     Moved to a safe sleep surface if they fall asleep in a car seat, swing, or stroller

Following this simple checklist can erase the fears and stress that many parents have during the first night home. These sleep standards and  precautions will ensure safety to your infant during the night. As long as your child is healthy and following these guidelines, you can rest a little easier while your child does.