Comprehensive Baby Crib
Safety Guidelines

A baby crib is the only place you will ever leave your infant unattended. So you need to make sure it's absolutely safe.

You can find the most careful and thorough baby crib safety guidelines right here on this page. (Sources include the Consumer Products Safety Commission and the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association.)

Check the crib you're considering for:

Dimensions:

  • At least 26 inches between raised crib rails and the top of the crib mattress.
  • At least 9 inches between lowered crib rails and the top of the crib mattress.
  • Slats less than or equal to 2 and 3/8 inches apart.

Entanglement Risks:

  • No decorative cutouts in the headboard or footboard.
  • No decorative knobs or protrusions anywhere on the crib.
  • Corner posts the same height as the end panels, NOT extending above the end panels.

Mattress Support Structure:

  • End panels should extend below the mattress with mattress at its lowest position.
  • Metal mattress supports are stronger than wood supports (important for withstanding a jumping toddler!)
  • Mattress support hangers (which attach the mattress support to the end panels) must be secure and able to withstand upward force from beneath the crib.

Drop-side Mechanism:

  • Drop-side cribs are structurally just not as safe as cribs without a dropside. Therefore they are no longer sold in the U.S., and it's best not to use them at all.
  • If you have an old dropside crib and are considering using it for your baby, watch this video about drop-side cribs from the CPSC.

Stability:

  • Crib should be sturdy, not wobbly, when you try to shake it.
  • If legs have wheels, at least 2 wheels must have locks.

Hazards:

  • No splinters, rough edges, exposed staples, or cracked or peeling paint.
  • No missing, loose, broken, or improperly installed hardware on crib or mattress support.
  • No loose or missing slats.
  • Mesh on mesh-sided cribs should be less than a quarter-inch in size, be securely attached along sides, top and bottom, and have no tears, holes or loose threads.

Crib Mattress:

  • Mattress should fit snugly - no more than one inch (about 2 finger-widths) between mattress and crib sides.
  • Mattress should be firm and have squared corners.
  • Make sure your crib mattress is fire-retardant. New crib mattresses are required to be fire-resistant, but some older mattresses were not.

Safety Recalls:

  • Always send in the product registration card that comes with every new crib. By returning the card, you ensure you'll be notified if your crib is recalled.
  • We do not recommend using a secondhand crib. Safety requirements are much more stringent today than in years past. Older cribs may present entrapment risks and other hazards, or contain lead paint or other toxic materials. If you do consider a used crib, make sure it hasn't been recalled by checking with the Consumer Product Safety Commission: Baby Crib Safety Recalls .

Safe crib bedding:

  • For a sleeping baby, soft items can be hazardous. In a crib, use no pillows. No quilts or comforters. No stuffed toys. It's best not to use crib bumpers.
  • Putting the baby in a sleeper is definitely safer than using sheets or blankets in a crib. If you use a blanket, make sure it's a thin blanket, and large enough to be tucked securely around three sides of the mattress.
  • Tuck the blanket in securely on three sides so that it reaches from one end of the crib (where you place baby's feet) only a few inches to baby's chest level. You don't want the blanket co come anywhere near the baby's face.
  • Read these recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding the safest infant bedding .

We're committed to gathering, publishing and updating the absolute best and most thorough baby crib safety guidelines available. Please contact us (using the form below) if you have safety information we should add to this page!

Return to Baby Furniture Guides Home

Contact Baby Furniture Guides

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.
First Name*
E-Mail Address*
Message*