Many Pinay moms don't always see cribs as a baby essential. And the moms from our Smart Parenting Village who did buy one shared they used their cribs sparingly, so they just ended up selling it. Others said the cribs were useful when their babies began to explore and tried to stand up or walk on their own.
If do decide to have one, here are some important reminders and features to look out for when shopping for a crib.
1. Avoid drop-side cribs.
In 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released new and improved federal safety standards for cribs. One of the guidelines prohibited traditional drop-side baby cribs where one of the sides slide down to give easy access to the baby supposedly. However, this functionality created a gap between the crib mattress and the drop side that could result in babies being trapped and suffocated in the gap. Since 2011, manufacturing and selling drop cribs have become illegal in the United States.
In the Philippines, some furniture makers still create wooden cribs with drop sides. It’s better to buy a full crib where the sides cannot be pulled down, or choose one where one side can be completely removed (to function as a co-sleeper) instead.
According to crib safety tips by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), bars should be spaced no more than 2 and 3/8 inches apart. If a soda can fits easily through the slats on a crib, the spaces between the slats are too wide and can be dangerous for babies.
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3. Look for a crib with an adjustable mattress.
The top of the crib rail should be at least 26 inches from the top of the mattress. As your child gets taller, or around the time when your child begins to sit up, you should be able to lower the mattress. Kids can climb and fall out of the crib when they start becoming more active (like when they are able to pull themselves up and stand).
The AAP recommends a firm mattress that does not sag under your baby’s weight. Make sure it fits the crib snugly, with no space between it and the crib walls. A mattress that is too soft can conform to your baby’s shape and becomes a suffocation risk or result in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
When buying a foam mattress, what’s more important than the thickness is the density. Weight can be a good indicator, according to BabyCenter — the heavier it is, the denser, compared to one that’s the same size and thickness but is lighter.
5. Make sure the headboard and footboard are solid.
Avoid decorative cutouts as the baby’s head can get trapped in it. Make sure corner posts don’t have pointy embellishments as it can snag clothing or cause injury. Also check the crib thoroughly and make sure there are no splinters or rough edges.
6. Check the crib’s stability.
Some pointers from BabyCenter: Give the crib a good shake in the store or after putting it together at home. If it wobbles or rattles, it may have been put together or improperly — or that you should just look for a sturdier crib.
It may seem safer as it acts as an extra layer to protect babies from drafts and bumps, but these pads have been implicated as a factor contributing to deaths from suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation, according to the AAP.
“Everybody thinks if it’s soft then it can’t hurt the baby. But soft bedding is actually really a problem because it’s so soft, they sink into it,” explains Dr. Rachel Y. Moon, a pediatrician and the lead author of the AAP safe sleep guidelines.
Remember: bare is best! Remove pillows, blankets, or stuffed toys as well as bulky comforters, and heavy blankets on baby’s crib.
8. Consider getting a versatile crib.
Babies tend to outgrow cribs quickly so it’s better to invest in a crib that can be converted into a toddler bed, daybed, or even the headboard and footboard for a full-size bed. You can also opt for a playpen — our Smart Parenting Village moms like it because it’s roomier. (Check out their thoughts on wooden cribs vs playpens here.)
When looking for a crib, safety and design are more important than the price. Hopefully, these guidelines can help you make the right choice.