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Let's Go to the Crib!

Everything you need to know about baby sleep safety in the crib

Babies spend lots of time in their cribs. In fact, most newborns sleep 16 hours a day, and your baby will continue to sleep for up to 14 hours a day until after their first birthday. Here are some sleep safety tips that can help babyproof your crib and prevent sleepy time injuries.

Let's start with the crib. The crib you choose should adhere to these strict guidelines:

  • Crib slats should be no more than 6 cm apart, (about the width of a soda can), to prevent your little one's head from getting stuck. Make sure slats are not cracked, splintered or missing.

  • Don't choose a crib with cutout designs in the headboard or footboard. We don't want little body parts to find there way in there and get stuck!

  • Try to choose a crib without corner posts so baby's clothing doesn't catch and get stuck. This is a serious strangulation hazard!

  • Ensure that all hardware (bolts, screws, etc.) stay tight and in place. They can easily loosen if your baby is active, and the crib can collapse.

  • Pick a firm mattress that fits tightly snugly inside the crib frame so your little one can’t get stuck between the mattress and the crib.

  • Make sure the crib should have no sharp or jagged edges, (you knew that one already ;-)

  • New cribs got rid of side rails for safety reasons. If you are using an older crib, make sure the sides latch securely.

  • Try to use a newer crib if possible, as some older cribs may contain toxic lead-based paint.

Where you place your baby’s crib also matters. Keep the crib away from windows and blinds, as dangling cords are a strangulation hazard.

Keep in mind that new risks present themselves as your baby grows. Mobile and activity gyms, for instance, can present strangulation risks and should be removed by the time your baby can push themselves up on their hands and knees - usually around five months of age. Growing babies may also attempt to climb out of their cribs and fall. To prevent accidents, lower the crib mattress as your baby begins to sit and stand up.

Sleep position is critical. Whether it’s for bedtime or a nap, always put your healthy baby to sleep on their back. Babies who are placed to sleep on their bellies are at a much higher risk of dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Pre-term infants have a higher risk of SIDS and should also sleep on their backs.

FUN FACT: Multiple studies have shown that putting your baby to sleep with a pacifier reduces their risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Keep the crib empty. Pillows, toys, blankets, comforters and bumpers can all create a suffocation risk. Only use a crib sheet if it fits snugly over the mattress. If you are worried about your baby not being warm enough, dress your baby in a sleeper.

Here are some other ways you can reduce the risk of SIDS:

  • Don’t smoke or let others smoke around your baby.

  • Don’t use wedges and sleep positioners.

  • Keep your baby’s sleep area close to yours (same room is ok) but keep their sleep surface separate.

  • Don’t let your baby sleep in a bed or on a couch or armchair with adults or other kids.

  • Don’t let your baby get overheated while they sleep.

  • Give your baby a clean, dry pacifier when you put them down to sleep.


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