Crib safety guidelines
Latest update: September 19, 2018
Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD
Crib safety is your number
one priority when putting your baby to sleep. Follow all
guidelines below to protect
your child from SIDS
and prevent injuries.
A safe sleeping place automatically makes your little one feel protected
And at any age, it is when we feel safe and secure,
that we can relax en are able to sleep
So a safe crib also
helps your baby sleep better. And knowing that your child
is safe, you'll feel and sleep better too of course.
Note: All guidelines on these pages
are based on international health and safety regulations from reports
by governments, health and sleep research associations.
Crib safety guidelines
An under one year old should sleep in a crib (or cot, or baby bed)
that leaves no risk for her to get stuck with any part of her body.
Making your baby's bed safe is an important SIDS prevention task.
With "bed" here we refer to any baby size bed, usually wood, with a frame
(made up by the slats) around it to ensure baby cannot roll or fall
Some cribs have adjustable mattress heights. These can be used during
the first months when there is no risk yet of climbing out. With
the mattress higher up you don't have to reach so deep to put
your little one in or take her out.
A safe bed
will have the following characteristics:
- The bed is in
a perfect condition and correctly assembled. No loose or
slats high enough or the crib
deep enough to prevent baby from rolling out, or an older
baby from climbing out.
- A distance
between the slats from 4,5 cm (1 3/4 inches) to 6,5 cm (2
- A firm
and tight-fitting mattress so that baby cannot get stuck
between the mattress and bedside or slats.
- No toys, pillows, quilts, stuffed animals,
strings, ... in the bed. In short: a safe bed holds the baby and nothing but the baby.
fitted bumpers (often used to decorate and soften the
sides of the bed) are OK only as
long as your little one is not mobile. Remove them as soon as your
baby could start climbing or pulling herself up using the bumpers.
- A mobile
is OK as long as it cannot be reached and pulled into the bed.
- Make sure no
small parts like screws or protection pads can come loose
or stick out.
Crib safety questions
Is a travel crib safe?
A folding travel crib can be
used but is really only recommended when the real crib is not at hand, e.g.
when traveling or sleeping over at family or friends.
Most of all the travel crib must be in an excellent condition, be set up
correctly, have sturdy sides, have a firm and tight-fitting mattress and no gaps between mattress and crib ... and have nothing
but the baby in it.
When can I use a small pillow in the
Never use a
pillow under two years old.
The head can sink in the pillow and that prevent good breathing.
A pillow will also heat up your child which can be dangerous as well.
Can I use a duvet, blanket or quilt as a cover?
warm covers will heat up your baby too much which increases the risk of
It is better to use a layer, or several layers, of light
blankets/sheets. Remember to place the feet at the foot end of
the bed so she can not slide downwards and under the covers.
Better still is a well-fitting baby
sleeping bag or wearable blanket. It will keep baby
covered without overheating (choose a light one) and without the risk
of covering her head.
Make sure the sleeping bag is the right size so your child cannot slip down
Combine these crib safety guidelines with the guidelines to prevent
SIDS for optimum security.