New mandatory crib standards will go into effect in June, banning cribs with movable, drop-down sides, which can potentially trap and suffocate children. More than 9 million drop-side cribs have been recalled since 2005. At least 32 infant strangulation and suffocation deaths involving drop-side cribs have occurred during the last decade.
According to a recent study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics journal Pediatrics, more than 9,500 babies and toddlers visit emergency rooms each year because of injuries related to cribs, playpens and bassinets. An average of 113 children die each year from crib accidents in the United States.
“Infants, especially newborns, spend a lot of time sleeping, so it is important to ensure that their sleeping environment is safe,” says Sarah Haverstick, Safe Children Program manager at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. “The action taken by the CPSC to ban the manufacture and sale of these cribs will save lives and create a safer sleeping environment for all infants.”
Despite the CPSC’s mandates, Haverstick says better prevention efforts are still needed to avoid crib injuries and deaths. She says parents and caregivers should always place infants on their back to sleep, and cribs should be free of pillows, stuffed animals or extra blankets.
The following tips will help keep your baby safe and reduce crib-related injuries:
* Outfit your crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress.
* Use only a fitted-sheet designed specifically for crib use.
* Do not overdress your baby. Consider using footed pajamas instead of a blanket.
* Ensure that all screws and brackets are properly installed and there are no missing parts to the crib.
* There should be no more than 2 3/8 inches between the crib slats to avoid a baby’s body being able to fit through the slats.
* There should not be any cutouts in the headboard or footboard of the crib.
* If you have hanging crib toys such as mobiles, they should be out of the baby’s reach and must be removed when your baby begins to sit or stand in the crib, or reaches 5 months of age. Hanging toys can be strangulation hazards.
* When purchasing a crib, look for Juvenile Products Manufactures Association (JPMA) certification.
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Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt
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