Baby Cribs

Written by Gregg Ruais
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There are two basic criteria all parents should consider when purchasing a baby crib: safety and style. The former, of course, is by far the most important. The vast majority of baby cribs are entirely safe, if for no other reason than furniture companies cannot afford to make them unsafe. It would be too much of a liability. However, parents should always verify safety before assessing the cosmetics of a crib.

First and foremost, a crib must keep a child contained within its borders. It's not uncommon for a six-month-old to figure out how to climb over the side of a crib. In order to prevent this, the walls or dropsides should be at least 26" above the mattress. A dropside should never be lowered to less than 9" above the mattress. The width between crib slats should be wide enough to see through but narrow enough to ensure the baby cannot squeeze his head between the bars. Not only do you want to prevent a child from escaping the confines of his crib, but also make sure he doesn't get his head stuck. It's often easier for a child to put his head through those bars than to get it out.

Baby Crib Safety Comes First

Keep in mind that some babies are very creative in how they achieve mobility. A crib with wheels must have locking casters. If it doesn't, the baby might figure out how to find his way around the house by rocking the crib back and forth.

Babies will chew on anything they can get their mouths on, and that includes furniture. A safe crib does not have loose paint. There should be teething rails along the sides. Always inspect a crib for obvious safety hazards such as splinters, sharp edges, and roughness. The mattress should fit snugly inside the crib to ensure the baby sleeps on a soft and even surface, without possibility of suffocation.

If several cribs meet all of these criteria, select your favorite design. Many child psychologists believe that infants should be exposed to plenty of visual stimulation to promote mental activity. Assuming these hypotheses are correct, it's a good idea to pick mattresses and blankets that feature plenty of patterns and shapes. Deciding on a style is the fun part, but following the safety guidelines will give you peace of mind.

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