How to Create a Safe Nursery
There’s a lot to think about when designing baby’s nursery, from picking out the crib to deciding on wall decor and where you’ll store all of those cute baby clothes. But don’t forget the most important thing: Making sure the room is safe for your child. Here, we’ve gathered up key nursery safety tips, with the help of the American Academy of Pediatrics, to help you set up a room that’s free of common dangers.
• Notice where light enters the room. Don’t put the crib somewhere that receives direct sunlight in the morning or is under a streetlight all night, which can disrupt your child’s sleep.
• Check that none of the crib slats are more than 2 and 3/8 inches apart, to prevent your child’s head from getting trapped between them.
• Make sure the mattress is the correct size for your crib. There should be no gaps between the mattress and the sides of the crib wider than two fingers, otherwise baby’s arms, legs or body could get stuck.
• All the bolts and screws should be tight and any plastic covers or packaging should be removed.
• Don’t place any pillows, blankets, bumpers or toys in the crib, since they can pose a suffocation hazard. There should be nothing in the crib expect a tightly fitted sheet and your child.
• If you hang a mobile, make sure it’s securely attached and placed well beyond baby’s grasp so they can’t pull it down. Once baby can get up on their hands and knees, remove the mobile.
• If using a changing table, make sure it’s sturdy and stable
• Keep all diaper supplies within your reach so you don’t have to ever step away or turn your back on baby—even non-mobile newborns can roll off the table.
• Use a contoured changing pad with raised sides, to help prevent baby from rolling.
• While you want diaper supplies close by, keep them out of baby’s reach; products like baby oil and certain diaper creams can be toxic if ingested.
• Many pediatricians encourage parents to do away with baby powder, since the particles can injure babies’ lungs if inhaled.
• Finish all painting and wallpapering at least eight weeks before baby is expected, and leave windows open for aeration until the actual arrival. Paints can release potentially harmful fumes, but finishing these tasks early should eliminate any risk to baby.
• Secure rugs to the floor with double-side tape, so they don’t slip underfoot when you have baby in your arms.
• Place furniture away from the windows and install window guards to prevent any falls.
• Use cordless window coverings whenever possible, or put any cords up out of reach, since they can pose a strangulation hazard.
• Anchor all heavy furniture to the wall so it won’t fall over if accidentally bumped (or climbed on, once baby becomes mobile).
• Look for toy storage bins without lids, or make sure it has safe hinges that won’t pinch baby’s fingers and air holes in case baby gets trapped inside.
• Use a cool-mist humidifier to avoid burns, and clean it regularly according to manufacturer instructions to avoid mold and bacteria.
• Install a CO detector and smoke alarm outside baby’s room and buy alarms with long-life lithium batteries. Standard batteries should be changed every year.
Updated September 2019