Safety Requirements for Safe Crib Set-Up

safe crib environment
Dr. Yeh brings Key Safety Requirements for Safe Crib Set-Up. From placement to what accessories to skip, tips to help keep your baby safe.

How do you create a safe sleeping environment for babies?

In addition to keeping the baby in a supine position in the crib, ensuring a safe newborn crib is another important point. Let’s further explore how to safe crib set up for optimal baby sleep environment.

Guide to this post:

Crib Placement: Best Places to Set Up a Baby Crib

First, in which room should the baby sleep? It is recommended to share the same sleeping space with the parents, but have a separate baby crib. In the case of multiple babies, say twins or triplets, each baby sleeping in a separate bed is safest. The baby crib should be as close as possible, but not connected, to the parents’ bed. 

“You know, just sleeping in the same room with your baby can reduce the risk of sudden death by half!”

It is recommended to maintain this safe crib set up until they’re six months old or even up to one year old. Sometimes babies are inevitably held in their parents’ bed for feeding or comfort. Adults should remember to put the baby in their own baby crib before falling asleep. If the parent accidentally falls asleep first, then as soon as they wake up, it’s important to quickly put the baby back to their own crib.

Safe Crib Set-Up 

New baby cribs are recommended, avoid buying a used one if you can. If you are using an old or Grace brand crib, pay attention to whether it complies with current safety regulations, whether any parts are missing, whether it is assembled correctly, etc. Don’t use a removable mobile bed rail to prevent babies from getting trapped or even suffocating. Keep the crib away from electrical wires, curtain ropes, blinds, windows, etc. that may cause harm.

Car seats, baby strollers, cradles, baby rockers, baby carriers, baby towels, etc. are not recommended for small babies to sleep in often or for a long time unless necessary for relocating. 

The reason is that these products that are designed in a sitting position are more likely to cause gastroesophageal reflux (also known as infant reflux) or affect the openness of the respiratory tract because the head is tilted forward. In short, whether in a hospital or at home, it is safest for a small baby to sleep or nap in a crib.

Crib-Safe Mattresses for Babies

The mattress of the safe baby crib should be hard enough so that the baby’s head does not sink when lying down. For example, memory foam is not suitable as a baby mattress because it is easily deformed. Some mattresses have upholstery, which is never suitable for babies. Also, the fitting of the sheets should be moderate. For example, if the sheets are too small, there may be a large gap between the mattress and the crib after the sheets are placed. In addition, pillows, cushions, quilts, blankets, etc. cannot be used as a mattress, whether they are placed on a mattress or wrapped under a sheet.

The perimeter requirements of the crib used to exist to prevent the baby’s head from getting caught between the railings. Updated codes require that the railings of cribs should be no more than 2 inches apart, so the crib circumference has lost its original reason for existence. Does the use of a perimeter increase the risk of sudden infant death (SIDS)? There is no consensus at this time. However, after considering the pros and cons, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend using a bed bumper in the crib.

Accessories Inside the Crib

For a safe crib set-up for your baby to sleep in, the fewer items in the crib, the better. It’s not recommended to place soft bedding such as pillows, quilts, blankets, stuffed dolls, etc. on cribs, as these items increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death (SIDS). Studies have pointed out that if these items are placed on the bed, it will increase the risk of Sudden Death by 21 times. If you do not determine your baby’s sleeping position purposefully, the overall risk is increased by 5 times.

Many people are afraid that it will not be warm enough if the baby is not covered with a blanket. At this time, a baby sleeping sack, swaddle, or anti-kick vest can be used instead.

What are Crib Bumpers

Crib bumpers are fabric pads that tie to the inside of the crib. They’re often sold to parents as safety items to keep their little ones from banging their heads on the crib slats or having their little hands or feet stuck in them. 

That may be true, but it’s hardly the whole story. While they may protect against some risks, they pose a risk to your baby’s sleep safety. 

Are Bumpers Safe for Babies?

There are two basic elements of the crib bumper that make it unsafe for baby sleep. Firstly, it’s fabric. That in itself means your baby could potentially find themselves with their face against it and at risk of suffocation. On the other hand, it also ties to the crib using fabric ties, which is unlikely to cause strangulation because of their length, but it’s still better to be safe.

“From 1990 to 2016, 107 fatal and 282 non-fatal incidents (related to suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment) were directly connected to crib bumpers. Even scarier? In the more recent years of the study (2008 to 2012), the annual rate of crib bumper-related deaths nearly tripled.”

AAP via bestproducts.com

Crib Bumper Alternatives

So, you might still worry about the things that crib bumpers offer as far as the added safety from the direct contact with wood.

You might be wondering,  “What can I use instead of a crib bumper?”

Luckily there are crib bumper alternatives. Here’s what you should search for if you’re looking for something more breathable and safe that doesn’t tie to your crib: 

  • Baby Linen Mesh Liner
  • Baby Safe Crib Bumper Pads
  • Vertical Crib Liners
  • Rail Cover

Every single one of these options covers the wood rails in a way that is unlikely to harm your baby. Of course, if you want extra reassurance, consult with your pediatrician about the option you’re considering. They should be able to advise you best, especially taking into consideration any special needs your baby may have.

After reading the above article, I wonder if moms might feel too strict or overly cautious. The fact is, when faced with the problem of the safety of the baby’s environment, it is necessary to use this kind of precautionary attitude to avoid any dangerous situation that may occur. Even if the odds are low, it’s better to take precautions than to regret them later.


Interested in taking your baby’s safety to the next level? Take a look at the best baby monitors of 2021.

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Cubo Ai

Cubo Ai

Smart Baby Monitor, bird, techie, baby guru, and sleep-safety enthusiast. Cubo has a keen eye for detail, loves baby photography, and never sleeps on the job. You can find Cubo in thousands of nurseries around the world and here on the blog helping parents learn more about the topics they care about.