Babyproof Your Nursery

The crib sheet on crib safety

Babyproofing: For many expecting parents, the very word may sound daunting. And, to some extent, it should be. The process of getting your home safe for your new baby is not to be taken lightly. Although babyproofing may conjure up images of safety gates and table bumpers for crawling tots, one of its most important elements '- crib safety '- must be thought out well before baby arrives.

We've gone back to the basics for a review of how to babyproof your crib the right way. Remember, designing your nursery involves a bit more than selecting sweet wallpaper and a proper rocker. Choose your layette through a safety lens, starting with your bassinette and crib '- your baby's first home! The crib should be the safest place in the house; not only will your baby spend most of his time there, he'll be there alone during the night. And in order for you to sleep soundly, you need to be assured he is sleeping safely.

Think crib safety, not antique chic. Sure, they fit in with your carefully selected home decor, but antique cribs are not babyproof and can be extremely unsafe. They might have missing or broken pieces, lead paint or too-wide spindle openings. Standards for cribs have changed over time and these cribs definitely don't meet today's safety standards. Keep your penchant for vintage contained to your closet.

Choose safety over style. Corner posts or ornate headboards with cutouts present a safety hazard to your baby. Clothing and ribbons can catch on tall corner posts and strangle an infant, according to data from the injury prevention program of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). For corner posts, think extreme. They should either be less than 1/16 of an inch tall or taller than 16 inches '- nothing in between. A crib's spindles '- the vertical bars '- should be no further than 2 3/8" apart. If you can fit a soda can through any of the slats, the opening is too big. Make sure your crib is certified by the Juvenile Product Manufacturer's Association.

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