Having a new baby in your life — whether it’s your first child or your tenth nephew — is a very special time. And a major part of your responsibilities as the new parent — or uncle or granny — is to make sure the baby is safe.
Sleep time brings special hazards for a baby, especially an infant — blanket suffocation, hand-me-down cribs that do not meet current safety regulations, playpens that might have been used a little too much. Before you lay your little one down to sleep, check to make sure their environment is as safe as it can be.
For infants under one year of age, help reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and prevent suffocation:
- Always place your baby on her back in a crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress.
- Never put bumper pads, quilts, pillows, comforters, sheepskins, or pillow-like stuffed toys in your baby’s crib.
- Consider using a one-piece sleeper instead of a blanket. Unlike a blanket, a sleeper outfit is designed to stay on the baby’s body.
- If you choose to use a blanket, place your baby with his feet to foot of the crib, and then tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress so it covers him only as high as his chest. Make sure the blanket is not so long that it goes up over his shoulders.
- Use only a tight fitted bottom sheet specifically made for crib use.
- Use a tight-fitting, firm mattress so your baby cannot get trapped down between the mattress and crib.
- Make sure there are no broken, loose, missing, broken or improperly installed screws, brackets or other hardware on the crib or mattress support. Cribs that are assembled incorrectly, or have missing, loose or broken hardware, or broken slats, can result in entrapment or suffocation deaths.
- Verify that there is more than 2-3/8 inches (about the width of a soda can) between crib slats. Space between slats need to be narrow so a baby’s body cannot fit through the slats. Also, make sure there are no cracked or missing slats.
- Be sure there are no corner posts over 1/16th inch high that could catch your baby’s clothing.
- The headboard or foot board should have no decorative cutouts that your baby’s head could get trapped in.
Mesh-sided Cribs or Playpens
- The sides should be mesh less than 1/4 inch in size. That’s smaller than the tiny buttons on a baby’s clothing so the buttons don’t get caught on the mesh.
- Check to see that there are no holes, tears or loose threads that could entangle a baby. Toys, older siblings or family pets can rip the mesh so inspect it frequently.
- Verify that the mesh is securely attached to top rail and floor plate, and that the top rail cover has no tears or holes.
- If staples were used by the manufacturer, make sure they are not missing, loose or exposed.
If you or someone you know has been injured by a defective baby product, contact a lawyer at Carr & Carr Attorneys. We can help you determine what your next step should be.