a baby cot A baby cot

When you choose a crib, check it carefully to make sure that your baby's sleep space is safe.

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  • What to look for: A crib with no drop-side rail: The side rails should not be able to move. Do not buy or accept a used crib with a drop-side rail.

    The firmest mattress you can find. Don't rely on manufacturers' labels — test it yourself by pushing firmly on the center and all sides of the mattress.

    Strangulation Infants can become trapped and strangled if their clothing gets caught on parts of a cot that stick out, or if their head becomes trapped between gaps. Go in, settle the, back down quickly, kiss them good night and retreat fast. The tradition in some continental countries is that people go to sleep much later in the evening and have a siesta in the afternoon.

    Make sure the mattress holds firm and springs back in place quickly. This is extremely important because soft mattresses may play a role in sudden infant death syndrome SIDS.

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    A mattress that fits snugly in the crib. This keeps a baby from slipping in between the mattress and the crib sides. Make sure to remove any plastic mattress packaging before use.

    Time to move rooms? Bed-sharing can be dangerous especially if parents are smokers or if baby is premature or less than 3 months old. For the purpose of this article however I have concentrated on floor beds.

    If you use a mattress pad, buy one that fits tightly. Corner posts that are the right height: If the crib has corner posts, they must be either flush with the top of the headboard and footboard or very tall — over 16 inches 41 centimeters.

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  • Anything in between is a potential strangulation hazard. If you are getting a used crib, check it with extra care: Avoid cribs older than 10 years old: They may not meet the most recent safety standards.

    a baby cot A baby cot

    There may be too much space between slats or decorative cut-outs in the headboard and footboard that can trap a baby's head. A crib made before may have a finish that contains lead, so a crib that has been in the family for generations won't be the best one to use! Check the condition of the crib: Only use manufacturer-provided parts if any repairs are needed.

    Make sure you have a manual to assemble it properly. Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep. Make sure the crib has not been recalled by the manufacturer.

    Check all screws and hardware regularly and tighten them if necessary. A bare bed is best. Don't place bumper pads, soft bedding, or soft toys blankets, fluffy comforters, pillows, plush toys in your baby's crib. Any of these items could cause your baby to suffocate.

    Remove mobiles when your baby starts to push to his or her hands and knees or when your baby turns 5 months old, whichever comes first. Do not place a crib near a window or drapes.

    Your baby could fall or become entangled in window blind and drape cords.

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  • Do not hang toys by strings. Make sure sleepwear and sheets are flame retardant.

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