Preparing for your first child is exciting and overwhelming. You can’t wait to welcome your new baby into the world but the list of things to do to prepare for the arrival can be so overwhelming – from finding the right doctor to the actual birth. And, then, there’s the nursery. You want to create the perfect space for you and your child. Pinterest and Instagram are great for inspiration but once you have your theme, you need to think about the practical matters like baby proofing. Baby proofing your nursery doesn’t have to be complicated – you just need to think like a willful baby who’s fixed on demolition.
Tips for setting up a safe nursery
Cribs – this will be one of the most important pieces of furniture you buy for your nursery as it’s where your baby will initially spend most of its time.
Here is a list of things you need to take into consideration when buying a crib:
- Regulations – Make sure your crib meets the current government safety standards (gov)
- Crib slats – crib slats should be no more than 23/8 “ wide. If they are wider your child could get itself stuck in-between the bars.
- Sides – buy a crib with fixed sides. Drop side cribs can be hazardous. There have been incidents of babies getting injured (or worse) due to failures in the hardware.
- Corner posts – look for a crib with no decorative knobs or other elements on top. This is, of course, to avoid clothing getting caught. If you like the look, however, search for cribs with posts that are 1/16” or under in height, or over 16”.
- Mattress – buy a firm, tight fitting mattress. You should not be able to fit more than 2 fingers between the edge of the mattress and the side of the crib. If the mattress is too small your baby could get caught between the crib and the mattress.
- Bare crib – use only a fitted sheet and a thin water resistant mattress cover. Blankets, pillows, bumpers and stuffed animals are discouraged to reduce the risk of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Bare is Best (#bareisbest) is the CPSC’s message for safe sleep (#safetosleep).
- Second-hand crib – if using a secondhand crib make sure it is manufactured after 2011, has no missing or broken parts and meets current safety standards. If budget is an issue, consider cutting costs by buying other second-hand furniture for the nursery, instead of the crib. Check out this link for more details on used cribs – Should you buy a used crib?
Safety considerations for the room
- Do not place any furniture close to the window. This will keep your baby from reaching the window cords and later, keep them from climbing and possibly falling. More window safety tips
- Buy cordless window coverings if possible.
- Install window guards especially if the nursery is on the second floor.
- Install plug protectors on all unused outlets. The best are ones that cover the entire plate. Toddlers can maneuver individual protectors out of the socket.
- When your baby gets older and starts crawling, safety gates are helpful to prevent late night wanderings or keep them away from potential dangers. Consider one that screws into the wall or doorjamb. Never buy an accordion-style gate or diamond shaped openings – they are a strangle hazard.
- Don’t hang anything that is heavy, like mirrors or heavy pictures over the crib. Avoid anything that could pose as a strangulation hazard. Wall decals or lightweight canvas art are good alternatives.
- Use a water-based, lead-free, zero-VOC formula paint; avoid pressed wood, particle board or plywood. Choose paper-based or natural-fiber wallpaper. Also, something to consider – new carpet emits some VOCs as well.
- Changing tables – store all changing supplies (baby powder, lotion etc.) in a location your baby can’t reach. If using a changing tray on a dresser be sure to secure it to the larger piece of furniture.
- Big furniture and floor lamps – secure large pieces of furniture to the wall and remove floor lamps that can be pulled over when the baby starts to crawl.
- Toy storage – avoid storage boxes with heavy lids or lids that can’t open easily.
- Gliders/rocking chairs – look for a rocker or glider with a stop-lock mechanism to prevent little fingers or toes from getting caught or worse.
Basic tips were provided in this blog. For a more comprehensive list, check out the links below. Childproofing is an important step but don’t wait to do it. A baby will become a curious toddler before you know it!