Crib mobiles aren't just an adorable addition to your baby's nursery. They also entertain your little one when you can't rush in to scoop her up the minute she wakes. While crib mobiles are certainly a common addition to your baby's bedroom, there are certain safety rules you should follow. Crib mobiles look harmless, but they can cause serious injury if they're not installed and used correctly.
Hanging the Mobile
Because a mobile may have ribbons, lace or other items that pose a strangulation hazard, it's essential to hang it at a height that will prevent your baby from pulling it down and getting wrapped up in it. A safe height depends on how large or long the mobile is. According to KidsHealth, you should choose a mobile that doesn't have pieces longer than 7 inches. Suspend the mobile from the ceiling at a height that your baby cannot reach. You might also lower your baby's crib mattress to the lowest level to help prevent her from grabbing and pulling down the mobile.
If a family member or friend gives you an old crib mobile, proceed with caution. While the mobile might be a family heirloom, crib mobile safety standards change constantly, and the mobile might not be safe. Ensure that no pieces are longer than 7 inches. If they are, cut them down to size using a pair of scissors. Inspect the mobile to ensure that there aren't any missing or broken pieces. Pieces that can come off the mobile may pose a choking hazard for babies.
Whether you purchase a new mobile or accept a hand-me-down, always check manufacturer websites for recall information. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission publicizes information about crib mobile recalls. Mobiles can be recalled for many reasons. Certain mobiles have been recalled because they come apart and become a choking hazard; others have been recalled because the batteries can leak acid, which poses a poisoning risk. If your crib mobile has been recalled, follow the manufacturer's instructions to get a refund or a safe replacement.
When to Remove the Mobile
When your baby is a newborn, she won't be able to reach for the mobile, but as she gets older, she'll be more curious -- and a lot stronger. Once your baby is able to get up on her hands and knees, it's time to remove the mobile from above the crib, according to Sandy Jones and Marcie Jones, authors of "Great Expectations: Best Baby Gear." Don't wait until your baby is able to reach the mobile and pull it down, posing a risk of injury.