Tips to Choosing the Safest Crib for Your Child
With so many cribs on the market, it can often be a bit overwhelming to narrow your search to just one product. You want it to be aesthetically pleasing, within your budget constraints, and most importantly, safe.
With Safety Awareness Month coming to an end this week, we figured there’s no better time to talk crib safety than, well, now! So we recently spoke to Delta CEO Joseph Shamie, who offered his best advice on creating a secure sleeping environment for your little one.
The longtime exec sits on the board of First Candle, and works closely with the Juvenile Products Manufacturer Association‘s Safe Sleep Program, helping to ensure that children nationwide have a safe place to sleep. Here’s what he had to say:
Buy from a reputable company. “You want to purchase a crib from a company that knows the government standards, and lives by those standards,” Shamie says. He suggests visiting cpsc.gov, jpma.org or astm.org to read up on the latest crib guidelines, and to learn about the companies that truly make safety a priority.
Read the instructions. As basic as it sounds, it’s a must. “I really can’t emphasize it enough,” Shamie shares. “Too many times people think setting up a crib is intuitive, and they assemble it, then all of a sudden there’s an extra screw at the end, and that’s not OK.”
By the same token, he warns against using alternative parts. “If anything is missing, contact the manufacturer and get the correct part,” he says. “Never use your own screws.”
Register your crib. “If there are any issues down the road, this way, the manufacturer can contact you directly,” he says. This is especially important in case of recalls.
Make sure the mattress is snug. “There is a ‘two-finger’ rule about the area between the slats and the mattress, but I don’t love that idea, since fingers vary in size,” he cautions. “Feel in between the mattress and slats to be sure everything is snug.”
Keep a clutter-free sleeping environment. “Don’t create any clutter, like toys, inside the crib, since that’s how a lot of accidents happen,” Shamie warns. “A clean sleeping environment is a must.”
Don’t go used. Though it may save money, it’s not the safest option. “You don’t know where it’s been, if it’s the newest hardware, if it’s been stored in a garage or attic through cold and heat and been compromised … I could go on and on,” he says. “There’s no reason for a person to buy a used crib — there are enough out there from Delta and other manufacturers in the $100 to $120 range that meet the latest standards. These days, you don’t have to spend a lot of money.”
That doesn’t mean you can’t use the same crib for more than one child of your own. “If your crib has been handled well, it has a maximum [life expectancy] of 10 years. So you can use one with multiple children,” Shamie shares. But be sure to check that the screws are tight, parts aren’t broken and that it hasn’t been moved much. Says Shamie, “The last thing you want is for your child to be sleeping in a crib that’s been compromised.”