A baby’s crib is supposed to be the safest place in the world for him. You tell yourself: I leave him in his crib at night, I put him on his back to sleep. He’s completely safe, right? Well, maybe not.
After reading through the American Academy of Pediatrics baby sleep safety guidelines, there are some other dangerous things in your baby’s room. Things you might not have even thought about. Here they are.
You’ve probably heard about the dangers of mini-blind cords – these narrow, super-strong, knotted strings are strangulation hazards for children and pets. You probably shouldn’t have them in your baby’s room at all, and elsewhere in the house, you should be super-careful about tucking the cords up and away from a child’s reach.
Another worry for your baby’s room is curtains, particularly when your baby is big enough to start grabbing at things. These can easily be pulled into the child’s crib and thus are a suffocation/strangulation hazard. Now, I’m a huge proponent of blocking out the light so that your child can sleep. But the safest way to do it is a plain cordless room-darkening shade.
What!? Those adorable crib bumpers that were the signature item of your $250 bedding set might be dangerous? Absolutely. I read a scientific study about this a couple of years ago, where they investigated SIDS deaths and what had caused them.
Crib bumpers was its own category – some infants had smothered when their face was against a bumper, and some had become entangled in the cords that are used to tie those bumpers on.
Don’t worry about the fact that your crib’s bars and sides are made of wood or a similar hard material. Your baby is not strong enough to bonk himself against it and cause any real harm.
I certainly didn’t read about any SIDS deaths attributed to the hard sides of the crib. It’s not easy to throw these away because they’re so cute and they cost money.
So I went to eHow and found some great ideas for recycling crib bumpers:
Crib Bumper Recycling Ideas
- Make a wall hanging. You can cut the bumper into squares and hang them up like pictures. Or, sew large, evenly-spaced pockets on the surface of the bumper and hang it on the wall for some cute extra storage.
- Make pillows or tooth fairy pillows out of them. Remove the straps, and cut a square out of the bumper. Sew up the cut edge, and then sew a little square of fabric right in the middle (leave one side unattached to make an opening). This is the perfect size to slide under your child’s pillow to await the tooth fairy.
- Give yourself some cute new heating pads. Cut the bumper into square sections and remove the stuffing. Fill each section with rice, sew up the ends, and voila, a new microwaveable heating pad. Add herbs or aromatherapy oils for a more soothing effect.
- Create a valance for your baby’s window. All you need is a wide satin ribbon that matches the baby room decor. Sew the ribbon in evenly spaced loops on the top of the crib bumper. Then, you can slide the loops onto a valance rod to hang across the ceiling.
Your crib should just have one thing in it: the baby. While we’re on the topic, don’t buy into the myth of baby sleep positioners.
You may need to control the temperature of your baby’s room to make it a little warmer, or provide some comforting white noise in the form of a small fan. These are both excellent ideas to help your baby sleep. A fan in the room actually can decrease the risk of SIDS.
However, it’s important that neither fan nor heater be close to, or pointing at, your baby’s crib. Hot air from pointed into the open side of a crib will heat it like an oven, and your bundled-up baby might easily overheat. A fan pointed at your baby’s crib (or a ceiling fan) has the opposite effect.
Protect your newborn by ensuring these are not right next to your baby’s crib and that they’re pointed away from it.
You’ve heard of second-hand smoke, right? It’s worse, in some ways, than smoking a cigarette because the second-hand smoke is unfiltered. The thing about smoke is that it lingers and settles in your hair, in your clothes, and on your skin. Afterwards, the smoke residue and its 100+ known carcinogens go where you go, including into your baby’s room.
This is called third-hand smoke and it’s a scientific fact. People who smoke or who have recently been in smoky places (bars, casinos) should not be allowed in the baby’s room and certainly not near the crib, where the residue can be absorbed by soft bedding. At the very least, you should offer a clean shirt and ask them to wash their hands before coming near your baby or his room.
You should try to position your baby’s crib away from electrical outlets, especially those with active cords for lamps, night lights, or other devices. This is more of a danger for babies that move around and grab at things (usually after 6 months). The outlet itself is a shock hazard for tiny fingers. Electrical cords could be pulled into the crib and become a strangulation hazard.
Make sure any outlets near the crib are covered securely with plastic outlet covers. Devices that need to be plugged in should be as far away from the crib as possible. Lastly, don’t let a baby or (worse) a toddler see you remove an outlet cover and/or plug something in. They imitate the things their parents do, so don’t teach them that one!
See also our review of mini cribs and bassinets for recommendations of safe places for your baby to sleep.
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