Statistics collected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission show babies are more likely to die in a crib than any other piece of nursery equipment. It is, after all, where babies spend a good chunk of their time -- even more of a reason to embrace safety guidelines.In the 1990s, a major campaign was directed at new parents called "Back to Sleep." The idea was to get parents to remember to place babies on their backs when putting them to sleep in an effort to reduce the number of infants who die each year of suffocation or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. That practice is still recommended.
Here are some tips from the CPSC and the American Academy of Pediatrics to make sure you're doing all you can to keep your baby safe:
- Place the baby on its back to sleep.
- Use a tight fitted sheet.
- Make sure the mattress fits snugly inside the crib.
- Never use quilts, pillows or any soft toys or accessories (consider a sleeper instead of a blanket).
- Check for crib recalls from the CPSC and sign up for the children's products recall e-mail list.
- Follow all printed directions for assembling a crib and be particularly cautious of damaged hardware when rebuilding a crib.
- Be sure the slats are not too far apart (no more than about the width of a soda can).
- Never use a crib with missing or loose pieces.
- Be particularly careful when using a drop-side crib because the chance of entrapment is higher.
"It really can lead to suffocation," Fleming said. "Babies don't have the skills to be able to lift their head and neck."
For more information on sleeping safety for babies, have a look at the CPSC's new Q&A.