September is Baby Safety Month, and the perfect time to for parents and caregivers ensure that their baby’s sleep environment is safe and free from potential hazards. “While cribs, bassinets and play yards are the safest places to place your baby to sleep, more than 11 million cribs and numerous bassinets and play yards have been recalled since 2007,” warns the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission (CPSC). Many of these recalls were initiated because defects or design problems created entrapment, smothering or choking hazards.
To ensure your baby’s sleep environment is safe, parents can start by checking the CPSC’s website to see if the crib they are using has been recalled.
Parents can also follow a few simple rules, and keep in mind that Bare is Best.
To prevent suffocation, never place pillows or thick blankets in baby’s sleep environment.
Make sure there are no gaps larger than two fingers between the sides of the crib and the mattress.
Proper assembly of cribs is extremely important. Follow the instructions provided and make sure that every part is installed correctly. If you are not sure, call the manufacturer for assistance.
Do no use cribs older than 10 years, or broken or modified cribs. Infants can strangle 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 manufacturers’ directions. Only use the mattress pad provided with the play yard. Do not add extra padding.
Never place a crib near a window with blinds, curtain cords, or baby monitor cords. Babies can strangle on cords.
Do not use positioning devices. They are unnecessary and can be deadly.
Nearly half of the infant deaths and two-thirds of bassinet deaths reported to the CPSC each year are suffocations from a baby being placed on top of pillows and thick quilts or because of overcrowding in baby’s sleep environment.
The CPSC is also reminding parents to always place their babies on their backs to go to sleep.