How Should I Set Up the Crib for a Newborn?

By Lucia Mata
Parents need to set up the crib safely for a newborn.
Parents need to set up the crib safely for a newborn.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommend that babies do not sleep in the same bed as their parents. Co-sleeping can suffocate or strangle a baby, and there is a higher risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It is important to make sure that the crib is not only set up safely, but also in a safe and convenient location.

Follow your crib's instructions and read all the warnings. Make sure all the screws and bolts are tight. Verify that the paint in the crib is not chipping or peeling, and that there are no cracks or splinting on the wood of the crib. Make sure the mattress support is not coming apart or broken and that the mattress support fits.

Place the mattress support on the highest position if your crib has this feature. This will help you place your newborn in the crib more comfortably and without waking him up. Move the mattress down once your baby becomes mobile to prevent fall hazards. The crib mattress should be on its lowest position by the time your baby is six months old.

Choose a safe location for the crib. Avoid placing the crib close to cords or strings. Also avoid placing the crib too close to other pieces of furniture. The crib should be at least three feet away from a window with drapery or blinds that the baby could grab. Place the crib away from the door, this way you can check on your baby while he sleeps by slightly opening the door.

Use sheets that fit the mattress perfectly. Your baby can become entangled in loose sheets. Pull on each corner of the sheets to make sure they don't come off easily. Avoid using blankets or placing pillows or stuffed animals in the crib, your baby can re-breath exhaled air and suffocate. Use a bumper pad to prevent your newborn from getting an arm or leg trapped in between the railings. Cut excess strings to make sure your baby cannot grab them.

Avoid placing toys or stuffed animals in the crib, as your baby can suffocate or choke. If you use a mobile, make sure it is high enough your newborn cannot reach for it. If you use a toy bay or gym, make sure it is secured on the ends of the crib to prevent your baby from pulling it into the crib.

Tip

Check all the screws and bolts on your crib often and make sure they are tight.

Warning

Always supervise your baby when he is in the crib, especially if using blankets, a toy gym or other items that can cause suffocation or choking.

About the Author

Lucia Mata has been writing since 2008, covering parenting and design topics. Her work has appeared in both English and Spanish publications. Mata has an Associate of Arts in interior design from Salt Lake Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Utah Valley University.