Childproofing: First Steps

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January 5, 2012
You've probably already selected a color scheme for your baby's nursery, but have you given thought to a safety scheme yet? Your baby is much more likely to find trouble once mobile and exploring, usually around six months or so. But even before then, you'll need to take important precautions to guarantee your newborn's safety in your home. The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, or CFR, and the Juvenile Products Manufacturer's Association, or JPMA, recommend selecting a crib with slats no more than 2 and 3/8ths inches apart from one another. To measure accurately, make sure you CAN'T fit a soda can between the crib's bars. Now, put the mattress in its lowest position, and raise the sides. They should rise AT LEAST 26 inches above the mattress support. When lowered, the sides should be nine inches or more above the mattress. Next up? Ensure that the crib you choose is made of smooth wood, with no splinters. If it's painted, check for chips. The crib's mattress should be firm and fit snugly, with no more than two fingers' width between the side and the mattress. Although cutouts in the head or footboard of a crib LOOK pretty, you'll want to steer clear of them to ensure your baby doesn't get stuck. Once you've selected your crib, position it AWAY from windows, heaters, lamps, cords, and other furniture. Don't hang anything over the crib with a string longer than seven inches, and remove ALL hanging objects once your baby can sit up. You'll also want to keep your infant's changing table in a safe spot, preferably next to a wall. When Changing your baby's diaper, it's vital to keep one hand on your baby at all times and to use a safety strap, it can't hurt to put a soft rug underfoot. Ensure changing supplies are far from your infant's reach on the table. Finally, install a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector in your infant's nursery, remembering to change the batteries in both at least once a year. Until your baby begins to crawl or scoot around, these precautions will help keep your little one safe from harm. Remember though, that there's a lot more childproofing to do once your infant is more mobile and active!
Last Updated:
July 16, 2012