How to Test a Crib

By Victoria Georgoff
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Crib safety is extremely important, as it is the one area of the home where you want to feel comfortable leaving your baby unsupervised. When you lay your child down to sleep -- just before tucking yourself in for the night -- you need to be able to trust that he will be safe and sound all night long. Doing a thorough check of your crib to ensure it meets the federal guidelines for safety standards will do just that, so you and your little one can both have sweet dreams.

Safety Inspection Instructions

Step 1

The Consumer Product Safety Commission requires crib slats be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart to prevent baby’s head and body from fitting through the slats. Break out the ruler to ensure this standard is met, while you are at it, visually inspect that there are no missing or cracked slats.

Step 2

Carefully follow assembly directions set forth by the user's manual. Read the manual to verify safety specifications of the crib.

Step 3

Check that your crib model does not have a drop side rail; this type of crib does not comply with federal safety standards. The Consumer Product Safety Commission strongly advises against the use of cribs that have a drop side rail – including those that have been modified with an immobilizer -- which prevents the side from dropping down. The CPSC indicates an increased risk of injury, suffocation and entrapment in drop-side cribs, the sale and production of this style is also prohibited.

Step 4

Inspect that there are no posts on the corner of the crib over 1/16 inch high. A protruding post could cause baby’s clothing to get caught causing strangulation.

Step 5

Ensure there are no decorative cutouts on the headboard or footboard of the crib, such holes could cause baby’s head or body parts to become trapped.

Step 6

Test the fit of the mattress in the crib; it should be tight fitting so that your baby does not become trapped between the mattress and the crib. You should be able to fit no more than two fingers -- about 1 inch -- between the crib mattress and side wall.

Step 7

Visually inspect your crib for cracked or peeling paint, splinters, rough edges or loose screws. Sand and repair as needed to prevent injury.

Step 8

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends removing all pillows, stuffed animals, blankets -- and yes -- those adorable crib bumpers from the crib. Also, use a tightly fitted sheet around the mattress only. Any loose material increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, strangulation, suffocation and entrapment in the crib. The crib should have nothing but the baby in it when he is sleeping.

About the Author

Victoria Georgoff has been writing professionally since 2007. Her articles have appeared in "The Journal of Sexual Medicine" and "The Encyclopedia of Sex & Society." A dually-licensed mental health counselor, with additional EMDR certification, Georgoff specializes in writing about parenting, education, sexual health and psychology, but also writes prolifically on many other topics. Georgoff holds an Master of Arts in counseling from Valparaiso University.