How to Set up a Baby Crib

Setting up a crib is one of the most important steps in getting the nursery ready for your baby. Assembling the crib correctly, and placing it in a safe location, will help keep your baby safe from crib-related accidents and injuries. Many people find assembling a crib more challenging than they expected, so you may want to wait until you have someone to assist you, especially if you’re not experienced with assembling furniture, or if pregnancy prevents you from doing heavy lifting.

Choose a location for the crib that is safe and convenient. Make sure the crib is away from any windows, especially those with blinds or draperies, since the baby could get caught or strangle in the cords. If you are placing the crib against a wall, plan to put the drop-side, if the crib has one, away from the wall.

Locate the manufacturer’s directions for putting together the crib. Some cribs come with the instructions attached to the bottom of the crib. If you cannot locate the instructions, contact customer support immediately.

Make sure you have all the parts and tools necessary to assemble the crib. If any parts are missing or damaged, contact customer support or the store where you purchased the crib to find out if you should return it or if they will send replacement parts.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions for assembling the crib. Putting together a crib can take several hours or more, so take your time and make sure to assemble all the parts correctly. Some cribs use the same instructions for several different models, so the parts for your crib may not look exactly the same.

Inspect the crib to make sure it’s sturdy, without any unnecessary gaps. The slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, and the corner posts should not stick up more than 1/16 of an inch above the sides of the crib, unless the crib has canopy posts that are 16 inches or taller.

Set the crib mattress supports at the appropriate height for your baby. Generally, newborns and infants use the highest setting, for convenience in getting them in and out of the crib frequently, while toddlers use the lowest setting to prevent them from climbing out of the crib.

Place the mattress in the crib. Make sure the mattress fits snugly, with no more than two finger’s width between any side of the mattress and the crib.

Put a mattress pad and fitted sheet on the crib mattress. The bedding should fit snugly and securely, to prevent it from becoming a suffocation hazard.


Place only a light blanket over the baby, or use warm sleep clothes, for safety.


Remove any soft bedding from the crib. Always follow the JPMA’s safe sleeping guidelines, linked below, when putting a baby in the crib.

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