When you get ready to welcome your baby into the world, it can be hard to restrain yourself when it comes to decking out her nursery. Since the crib takes center stage in her room, you might even go a little crazy making it just right with themed sheets and decor. A crib canopy is similar to one that goes on a bed, but requires safety measures to ensure that your baby isn't harmed.
Some crib canopies are simply a rod that extends up and over the crib. A cloth canopy is attached to the bar. Others are wood or metal extensions that rise above the crib. Some of them are ornate and stand alone, while others are draped with cloth. Other canopies attach to a ring and are hung from the ceiling above your baby's crib. Understanding each type helps you choose the safest one for your baby.
The National Safety Council recommends against using a crib with corner posts higher than 1/16 of an inch. This is because a child's clothing could get caught on a post and pose the risk of strangulation. However, if you choose to use a crib canopy, high corner posts can still be safe as long as they are 16 inches or higher. This height reduces the chances that your baby will get stuck on them and keeps the canopy away from her face and body when she's in the crib.
Using a canopy properly is vital for keeping your baby safe in her crib. If you're not sure how to put the canopy on the crib, Consumer Reports suggests having a professional from the manufacturer come to your home and help you since most cribs require assembly after purchase. If you fail to put the canopy together correctly, it could come loose and fall into the crib, harming your baby. If your canopy has cloth that hangs down, make sure it is outside the crib so it doesn't settle over your little one's face, which increases the risk of SIDS or suffocation. Check the canopy often for loose or damaged parts and replace or remove the canopy if necessary.
Once your baby figures out how to pull herself to standing, she'll probably do it all the time, even in her crib. If your baby can stand up in the crib, some styles of canopies might be unsafe. If long lengths of fabric hang down within her reach, she might just discover that she can grab onto the material and get herself out of her crib. Or, the canopy could come crashing down, causing an injury. The National Safety Council recommends removing anything that hangs over the crib around 5 months of age.