Pregnancy and Beyond

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in his own crib or bassinet for at least the first year. Bed sharing by an infant and adult or other children in an adult bed or on a couch can create safety risks. As an alternative to bed sharing, you might consider placing your baby's crib near your bed.

Here are a few guidelines to make sure your crib is safe for your baby:

  • Spaces between crib slats should be 2 3/8" (the width of a soft drink can) or less so that baby's head or body will not slip through. End panels should not have any cutouts, and corner posts should be level with the crib.
  • Keep the sides of the baby's crib up and securely latched.
  • The mattress must be the right size for the crib. If it is too small, your baby can be injured by slipping down between the mattress and the sides of the crib. A mattress is too small if you can fit more than two fingers between it and the crib sides.
  • Use only approved mattress pad covers in the crib.
  • Bumper pads are not necessary and should not be used for babies less than 12 months old. Bumper pads and other soft bedding can cause suffocation.
  • Do not leave pillows in crib. Remove fluffy blankets, quilts, comforters and stuffed animals from the crib. Remove diaper pins and any other small or sharp objects. Crib toys, such as mobiles, should be removed when the baby is 5 months old or when she can push up on her hands and possibly strangle or choke on the toy.
  • Never prop a bottle in baby's mouth and leave him; he may spit up and breathe in the fluid. It may also cause ear infections and dental caries (cavities).
  • Keep cords away from cribs.