Your baby will spend many
hours in their nursery, so it’s important to make this space as safe as
possible when baby-proofing your
home. From sleep time to playtime, each area of
your nursery should protect your curious infant from harm. Plus, your nursery
needs to be safe for a growing infant, even as they transition from sitting to
crawling to walking, which may let them reach places you never thought
Most of the time spent in a
nursery is used changing a baby’s diaper, or during sleep time. This means that
your baby’s sleep and changing areas are the most important spaces to keep
Crib or Bassinet
Both the Consumer Product
Safety Commission and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend the use of a
crib, bassinet, or play yard for naps and nighttime sleep. Babies under 12
months of age, should be put to sleep on their backs in a crib with a firm
mattress and a fitted sheet. Additionally, the CPSC and AAP advise parents and
caregivers to adhere to the following safety rules:
Keep pillows, blankets, and bumpers out of the
Make sure there are no gaps larger than two
fingers between the sides of the crib and the mattress. The slats and corner
posts of a crib should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart.
Do not use a crib with a drop side rail.
Follow the instructions provided and make sure
every part is installed correctly. Tighten all parts and make sure no sharp
edges or rough areas are exposed. Call the manufacturer with any questions.
Do not use cribs older than 10 years old or
broken or modified cribs. Infants can strangle themselves to death if their
bodies pass through gaps between loose components or broken slats while their
heads remain entrapped.
Set up play yards properly according to the
manufacturer’s’ directions. Only use the mattress pad provided with the play
yard; do not add extra padding.
Babies can strangle on cords, so never place a
crib near a window with blinds, curtain cords or baby monitor cords.
Whether you choose a mobile
that hangs from the ceiling, or one that attaches to the crib, safe
installation and mobile choice is imperative for a safe nursery.
Always make sure a mobile is out of the baby’s
reach when they are lying on their back. Remove the mobile when the baby learns
to stand, to prevent them from pulling it down.
The AAP suggests avoiding mobiles that have
strings or ribbons.
Be wary of DIY mobile ideas. Paint and glue can
have toxins in them, pieces can fall off into the baby’s crib is not secured
properly, and DIY materials can often become a choking or strangling hazard.
Other than the crib, the
changing table is often the most used item in a baby’s nursery. To keep your
infant safe and make changing diapers easier on you, consider the following
Choose a sturdy changing table that has two-inch
safety rails on all sides. The AAP recommends using a changing table that is
concave so that the middle is slightly lower than the sides.
Use a changing pad with a safety strap and
securely strap your infant to the pad.
Understand that the safety strap is not a
guarantee. Therefore, you should always keep one hand securely on your baby always
and never leave a baby unattended.
Keep diapers and wipes within arm’s reach of
the adult changing the baby.
Keep all lotion, powders, diaper creams, and
other supplies in a drawer or a shelf out of your baby’s reach.
Other Nursery Safety Concerns
Even toys that are intended
for children can pose a risk if they aren’t age appropriate. Many parents are
guilty of assuming their own child is advanced, and can handle the toy marked
for ages 3+. Keep in mind that those choking hazard
warnings were added to the packaging for a reason—to
keep your little one safe.
Keep all furniture away from the window and use
Cut the blind and curtain cords or put them out
of reach for when your baby is older and able to grab onto them. The CPSC
recommends using cordless window coverings in homes with young children.
Avoid long decorative curtains, or curtains
with cords that the baby might pull down.
Install window guards to stop a curious baby
from opening the window as they get older.
Furniture and Decorations
Finish all painting in the nursery at least
eight weeks before bringing baby home. If possible, use paint with low levels
of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Look around for loose rugs or other items on
the floor that can be a tripping hazard for any adults who walk in the room.
Secure area rugs to the floor with double-sided tape.
Never place art above the baby’s crib. Hung
paintings can fall, or be pulled down by a curious toddler, and cause injury to
Make sure all furniture (bookcases, dressers,
changing tables, storage bins) are securely fastened to the wall with braces or
Install safety latches on dresser drawers, so
your baby can’t try to climb them as they become more mobile.
Avoid using a toy chest with a lid. Heavy lids
can fall and trap your baby, if they manage to crawl into the toy chest to find
their favorite plaything. Instead, use a basket or bin without a lid to store
If you have a stairway directly outside the
nursery door, you need to install a baby gate that screws into the wall or
doorjamb. The CPSC recommends gates that children cannot dislodge easily, but
that adults can open and close without difficulty.
Outlets, Lights and
Check that you have a working smoke detector
with new batteries installed. You should also have a carbon-monoxide detector
outside every bedroom.
Install a thermostat to track the nursery’s
temperature. Sleeping in an overheated room can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS),
so it’s suggested to keep the temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cover all outlets with plug protectors. If it
is an outlet you are not using, consider purchasing the plug that covers the
entire outlet—they are much harder for an infant or toddler to get out.
When your baby begins to crawl and walk, get
rid of standing floor lamps. Babies will grab at anything to help pull
themselves up, and a lamp can easily fall and injure them.
Tuck away cords to lamps, monitors, and other
electronics. Not only are these a tripping hazard for adults, but they could
lead to infant strangulation, head injuries, or electrocution.
If cords can’t be tucked behind a dresser,
install a cord track to keep them out of reach.