Which Baby Cribs Are Safe Anymore?
I used drop-side cribs for both of my kids. The funny thing is that these cribs oftentimes sat empty because more often than not my babies slept in bed with me. Co-sleeping was my solution to babies who woke up every twenty seconds or so to nurse (give or take a few seconds), but I frequently felt guilty because I was taking the generally frowned-upon route of co-sleeping instead of putting my babies into their cribs to sleep. Not so long ago these cribs were the standard, but nowadays they’re regarded as unsafe.
It’s no wonder so many new parents are completely confused about what type of sleeping arrangement they should choose for their babies. Drop-side cribs were those cribs that featured the sides that could go down so parents could reach their babies without having to put their backs at risk. The problem is that these drop-sides could come loose or be put together incorrectly, resulting in a gap that could potentially trap the baby. It amazes me that the very crib that I considered to be the safest place for my babies might have actually been one of the most unsafe.
So Which Cribs Are Safe?
Out of curiosity I had a look at Amazon.com to see what types of cribs are being offered now that drop-side cribs have been banned. It looks like there are plenty of cribs to choose from, all of which boast “stationary sides,” just like cribs used to boast “drop-sides” not too long ago. Here are a few safe cribs:
These brands offer cribs that do not feature drop-sides. Really, I don’t see a very big difference between these cribs and the cribs I had for my babies, at least not visually. They’re all stylish, but the big difference from the drop-sides I used is that they’re all considered safe when constructed following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Buying a Crib
Really, the outlawing of side-drop cribs does not limit your options very much at all. There are still plenty of cribs to choose from. Just choose a crib that does not have drop-sides and be sure to assemble it exactly as the manufacturer’s instructions state. You should also check the crib periodically to make sure that nothing has come loose.
If you don’t think that a baby can make a crib come loose, just wait. Once your baby discovers bouncing, dancing, and shimmying, you’ll be shocked that your crib stays together at all.
What If I Already Own a Drop-Side Crib?
First thing you should do is check the CPSC to see if your particular model has been recalled. If it has, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and DO NOT use the crib again until it has been fixed. Next, see if the manufacturer provides a conversion kit which allows you to convert your drop-side crib into a fixed-side crib. Companies such as Stork Craft provide such an option. Yours might too! The CPSC recommends NOT trying to rig the crib yourself without the proper hardware and instructions. There may be aftermarket conversion kits available to change your drop-side crib into a fixed-side crib. Just be sure to follow the directions closely and if you have doubts that you could be doing it wrong, check with the manufacturer before continuing.
Consider the Surroundings
A crib’s safety plummets if you don’t put it in a safe place. You can choose a safe crib, but if you then fill it with fluffy pillows and blankets or put it next to window blinds then whether the sides drop or stay stationary may be the least of your worries.
If you want more information about the recall, or if you need more information about the new standards for cribs, have a look at the website for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.