Tips to Choosing the Safest Crib for Your Child

09/27/2010 at 10:00 AM ET

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.”

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Showing 11 comments

JuliP on

hmmm, taking advice from the company that has had too many recalls to keep track of….no thanks!
my SIL had 2 Delta cribs recalled and it was a complete and total pain in the rear!
her baby had to spend 2 or 3 weeks in a pack and play waiting to the replacement coupon and then they had to drive 200 miles to babies r us to get a new one. Only to have to do the same thing 2 years later.

Jennifer on

All drop side cribs, regardless of manufacture,r were recalled. We had a Simmons. They aren’t making any drop sides anymore. Sounds like your sister at least was able to get a new crib out of it. I wasn’t given that option.

Rach on

They’re talking about sleep safety and showing a picture of a crib with the bumper? I know, I know, they’re cute and they match but they’re not safe! Skip traditional bumpers and go with a breathable one.

dlock on

Before my son was born 8 months ago, my mom told to wait and she was going buy the crib bedding set. When it was time to purchase it, her card got declined…so after that my son was born and hardly ever slept in his crib until a couple months ago. I have black crib (no moving parts) with a fitted mattress and a sheet, and I rarely put a blanket on him because he will sometimes pull it to his face.

So, it turned out that everything worked out perfectly, you realize you don’t need all that crap in the nursery.

Gabriel on

I have nothing but great service from Delta. With my baby’s crib on the list for the recall for all dropside cribs industry wide, Delta customer service was courteous & friendly. I got the repair kit quickly and a 10% rebate for a new Delta crib which I went out an purchased. Great cribs & great service. I’ve told all my friends.

esmomma on

We have the exact crib in that picture and we love it. My son shakes it all the time and in the last 2 years I have only had to tighten the screws once, and that was before he was even standing so I’m pretty sure that we didn’t assemble it tight enough in the first place. Before he was in the crib we had him in a cradle next to our bed and it was Delta too. I will always recommend Delta for the quality, price, and they’re nice looking too!

Kelley on

Love how they have Delta’s CEO giving crib safety advice when Delta is on the CPSC’s “Most Wanted” list.

cris on

dlock…I didn’t figure out what in the world you were talking about until your last sentence!

Puckersbabe on

I purchased a Baby’s Dream crib and furniture set, and it is amazing. I never ever worry baout my daughter when shes in it. Plan on getting another set for #2! Google Baby’s Dream cribs or Cribs 4 Life (which is where I purchased mine!)

dickie on

People will spend a thousand dollars on a stroller that is so inconvenient and then skimp on the crib, I dont get it. Invest in your child’s sleep!

Olivia on

With all the recalls I hear about, I’m happy to have skipped the crib altogether. It’s really a shame so many manufacturers make faulty products parents rely on.

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