Crib bedding sets are a lovely way to decorate your baby nursery, but for safety’s sake, here are a few safe crib bedding practices to follow.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests the following. Do not purchase or use pillows, comforters, quilts, stuffed toys or sheepskins in the crib. Your infant might get tangled up in these bedding items. If a child gets tangled up, his/her mouth and nose could be engulfed in the soft fabric.
Make sure the bottom sheet fits securely on the crib mattress and will not come undone, tangling your baby up in loose fabric. Any mattress cover also needs to fit firmly and needs to be made of a strong material that will not tear, creating holes that your baby could crawl through. Make sure the mattress fits the crib tightly, that it is the right sized mattress for the crib. If the mattress does not fit properly, your infant could get stuck between the mattress and the side of the crib, or could roll under the mattress.
If you use a blanket, tuck it into the mattress and only cover the baby to chest high. An infant blanket should be of lightweight cotton. Babies can easily become overheated, so you might consider dressing yours in a footed sleeper instead of using any blanket at all. There are also wearable blankets and sleep sacks to choose from.
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Crib bumpers should not be used. Crib bumpers use strings to attach to the crib walls. These strings can also lead to entanglement. Additionally, your baby may roll over in the crib, placing his/her face against a crib bumper and suffocate. If a baby is already overheated, they may not be able to rouse themselves to move away from whatever is covering up their nose and mouth. Even if your baby can still breathe, s/he may be rebreathing the air inside a small space. Rebreathing air may contribute to SIDS.
It is currently recommended that you place your infant on his/her back. If you place your baby on their stomach instead, s/he can get trapped in any soft bedding. Sleep positioners, although they help your baby sleep on his/her back, have not yet been tested adequately to be sure they pose no hazard.
Consumer Reports reminds parents to take the same safety precautions with a hotel crib. Make sure that the crib the hotel provides is safe according to all these guidelines. These safety tips need to be adhered to wherever your baby sleeps – at grandmother’s house, at the child care center, even when you are on a camping vacation!
You might want to check to see that the crib mattress is fire-retardant. Some parents, however, feel that the chemicals that make the mattress fire-retardant are themselves harmful, so you will need to research this topic for yourself. There are companies that make mattresses and bedding from organic materials that are hypo-allergenic and contain no chemicals.
SIDS is a very real cause of fatality among infants. Even with all the safety regulations adopted by the crib manufacturers and government manufacturing standards, about 50 infants die each year due to crib related accidents and 9,000 suffer injury. Take the time to make sure your child’s crib bedding is safe.