Pregnancy Place: from conception and pregnancy through morning sickness and birth


Baby Crib Safety -- Love vs. Fear

Everyone knows you can't go around living in fear. And our babies' safety is a labor of love, but motivated by fear. Take the baby crib, for example. Every possible opportunity has been taken by baby crib manufacturers to make baby cribs as safe as possible, because they know how valuable your children are to you.

They don't want parents to live in fear -- they want their products to be as safe as possible, so parents can bring up their children in confidence. They want babies to be as safe as possible, totally free from danger of any kind. And baby cribs are designed to relieve as much of that fear as possible.

Safety agencies protect your babies

There are many child safety agencies that monitor mishaps pertaining to baby cribs. In the United States, the most prominent ones are the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

In Canada, the main agency is Health Canada, with Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada regulating the industry. There's also a North American organization, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), with branches in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.

It's important, as parents, that we're totally familiar with these agencies and their regulations. Their purpose is to protect your babies from crib-related injuries and deaths.

The statistics aren't pretty!

Don't EVER be one of those parents who says, or even thinks, "Oh, it won't happen to me." Those were probably the thoughts of some heartbroken parents whose babies were seriously injured, or worse, in their cribs.

Remember, we can't live in constant fear -- but we can follow some simple guidelines that were designed to keep our babies safe.

These guidelines have been put together as a result of the sad statistics relating to crib deaths and injuries. Here are a few of them:

  • About 26 babies die from crib injuries every year.

  • Over 11,500 babies require hospital treatment from crib-related injuries every year.

  • Of all juvenile products, cribs are the biggest cause of death.

  • In Canada, from 1986-1997, 31 children died from strangulation or suffocation in older cribs.

  • Also in Canada, at least 1 baby dies from being strangled by blind cords each year.

Remember, if you don't follow the guidelines and take the necessary precautions, it absolutely could happen to you!

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

SIDS, or crib death, is defined as the sudden and unexpected death of an apparently healthy baby less than one year old. Every week, 3 babies die of SIDS in Canada, usually while they're sleeping.

A lot of research, and many investigations, haven't brought the results hoped for -- SIDS remains a mystery to the experts, but they've put out some guidelines, based on the little they do know.

These guidelines have been echoed by the CPSC, the AAP, the NICHD, Health Canada, and all the other baby safety agencies, and they all say pretty well the same thing.

So pay close attention to these guidelines. Learn them. Follow them. And keep your baby safe:

  • Make sure your have the mattress that matches the crib. It must fit tightly, with no spaces around the sides. Babies can slip in there and suffocate.

  • Don't use extra padding, including bumper pads. They are a cause of suffocation, too.

  • Make sure all screws, bolts and hardware are tightly secured in place.

  • Make sure there aren't any rough edges or surfaces.

Those are just a few of the basics that all parents should know.

The Infant Crib Safety Act

In the U.S., the Infant Crib Safety Act has been introduced in the Senate. The requirements of this law reflect the guidelines of the crib safety agencies. All manufacturers must build their cribs using these baby crib safety specifications. And nobody may sell a baby crib that doesn't meet these specifications.

The purpose of the Infant Crib Safety Act is to cut down on infant injuries and deaths from baby cribs. It's also designed to regulate the sale and use of second-hand baby cribs and playpens.

It's a fact that most crib deaths occur when the parents have been using a second-hand crib. The ratio of new cribs to new babies born is 4:1. That means that one out of every four babies is sleeping in a second-hand crib. And that's inviting danger!

The Infant Crib Safety Act has formulated regulations that'll join together the efforts of the manufacturers, and the findings of baby crib safety ratings, to create an environment that'll keep your baby safe and happy.

Here are some of the basics of the Infant Crib Safety Act:

  • The center posts can't be more than 1/16" above the end panels.

  • The side slats, or bars, can't be more than 2-3/8" apart.

  • The mattress support must release easily from the corner posts.

  • Cutout designs on the end panels are prohibited.

Health Canada

Child safety in Canada is regulated by Health Canada, and they have a few more tips on baby safety in the home. These are, again, the same as in the U.S.

  • Don't use a crib manufactured before 1986.

  • Don't use any plush or fluffy blankets, sheepskins, quilts, comforters, duvets, etc., or any plush toys. Any one of them could cause your baby to suffocate.

  • Don't tie pacifiers (or anything else, for that matter) around a baby's neck.

  • Always make sure the railings are raised to their full height and locked securely in place.

  • Don't let a baby crawl under a crib.

  • Don't use cords of any kind anywhere around a baby's crib.

  • Don't leave a baby with bottles or toys in the crib.

  • Lower the mattress as far as possible as soon as the baby can sit up.

  • When the baby can stand up, make sure there's nothing they can stand on, and nothing they can reach around the crib.

  • Don't use a crib for a child over 3 feet tall.

  • Never leave a baby in a crib any longer than necessary.

Follow the simple guidelines, and everyone will be happy

That may seem like a lot to remember, but your parental instincts will lead you to do most of these things automatically. After all, a lot of child safety is common sense.

But if it's common sense, then why are there so many injuries and deaths relating to baby cribs? Because there's always that one little stressful moment that you let your guard down. But you always need to be on guard when caring for your little bundle of joy. One slip could be devastating!

Baby crib safety is something you need to be aware of. If you're a new parent, there sometimes seems to be too much to do. But remember, nothing's too much to keep your baby safe, right?

So remember, keep that balance between love and fear. You don't need to be paranoid -- just be wise. Your love for your baby will guide you to making the right decision when it comes to baby crib safety.

About the Author:

Arden Mellor is a successfully published freelance writer, one of experience and diversity. The knowledge brought to you through Arden's articles has been designed for simplicity. The world is much too complicated, and Arden's contribution to the world is to bring the complexities of life into a simpler arena, one that anyone and everyone can understand and use. Arden writes many informative articles on such topics as Infantino baby slings,wooden baby highchairs and infant car seats,and our wishes are that you benefit from the wisdom presented in these articles in making life simple.

Back to Cribs