Babies spend a significant amount of time in their cribs. Choosing a crib that will keep your little one safe is vital. When you are shopping for a crib, you may think that all cribs on the market today are safe. However, millions of cribs by major brand names have been recalled in recent years. There have also been recalls on playpens and bassinets.
According to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics, more than 9,500 babies and toddlers go to the emergency room each year because of injuries caused by cribs, playpens, and bassinets. Of this number, according to the study, an average of 113 children die. Most injuries are a result of falls by toddlers between the ages of 1 and 2. The issue of crib safety is gaining more attention recently, due to the recall of between 9 and 11 million cribs since September 2007 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The actual number of crib-related injuries and deaths may be significantly higher because the study only included children who were treated in emergency rooms. Children who were treated at their doctor’s office or urgent cares were not included in the study. Efforts are being made to increase the safety of cribs, playpens, and bassinets. The CPSC has teamed up with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Keeping Babies Safe to embark on a national campaign on crib safety. The CPSC also voted to ban drop-side cribs in December 2010 due to several injuries and deaths, including suffocations that were linked to these types of cribs.
Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio explains that parents can help avoid injuries by lowering the crib’s mattress when children become large enough to lean over the rails.
Children should be moved to toddler beds when they reach 35 inches in height, Dr. Smith also says. Babies should be placed on their backs, with no padding or pillows. It is also important to never use old, broken, or modified cribs, playpens, or bassinets. More information on crib safety can be found here.