Simple suggestions to keep children safe while sleeping in the crib.
Have you ever stopped and considered just how much time your child spends in his/her crib if you have transitioned them out of sleeping in your room? It's a LOT of time. Typically, half the day or more when including both day and night time sleep. And all of this time your child is unattended. That's why it is so important to make sure the baby's crib is one of the safest places in the home. There are several easy recommendations that can be followed to ensure the safety of your child while sleeping in a crib. Please note: this post is not about co-sleeping or bed sharing and the information in this post are not related to those topics.
Co-sleepers such as Arm's Reach or any style of bassinet:
The use of these should be stopped once your child is able to put herself into a sitting position. The side rails on these types of beds are very short and a child can easily flip over them once she is able to get herself into a sitting position.
There are generally 3 different crib heights and it is important to change these as your child meets the exciting first year milestones. The highest setting is appropriate when your child is first born and while she can do little more than roll side to side. This is a wonderful setting because you only have to reach down a little and it really saves the back. Unfortunately, it is also the setting that is used for the shortest period of time. Once your child can pull herself into a sitting position it's time to move the crib to the middle height. The reason for this is the same as with the co-sleeper or bassinet. Once your child can pull herself up to stand it is time to go to the lowest setting. Always check your crib's manufacture's instructions for more details on these safety suggestions.
Baby monitors with cords should not be placed in or on cribs and should be kept away from a child's reach at all ages. Mobiles should be removed from the crib once a child can get onto their hands or knees or pull self up to stand.
Simply put: there should be NONE for the first year of life. This includes no blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals. Absolutely nothing should be in the crib with your child. There is some new information that is suggesting bumpers are safe as long as they are installed correctly. A concern regarding this is that bumpers (just like car seats) are so often NOT installed properly. If you are concerned about those tiny limbs getting stuck between the rails there is the breathablebaby bumper that can be used and has much lower risks than those associated with traditional bumpers. And as for the child's warmth with no blankets there are several alternative items that can be used to keep your child warm including the Halo sleep sacks and the Summer infant swaddle blankets (to name just two).
Trying to Climb:
Once your child begins to show an interest in climbing out of the crib, it's time to begin the transition to a toddler bed. You never know when a child will succeed for the first time. There are a few safety precautions that can be taken since transitioning from a crib to a big kid bed doesn't always happen over night.
- Minimize the number of pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, etc that are in the crib as these can be used to stack and ease climbing. Remove the bumpers if they are in use.
- Keep furniture away from the crib (such as end tables) since these, too, can be used in some pretty fancy climbing maneuvers.
- Place some large pillows or other padding around the outside of the crib in the case that you have a successful launch.
Again, always check the manufacturer's instructions for all baby products and talk with your child's pediatrician if you have questions or concerns.
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