For infants under 12 months of age, follow these practices to reduce the risk of suffocation:
- Use a firm, tight-fitting mattress so a baby cannot get trapped between the mattress and the crib.
- There should be no more than 2 3/8 inches (about the width of a soda can) between crib slats so a baby's body cannot fit through the slats
- Do not put pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, pillow-like bumper pads or pillow-like stuffed toys in the crib.
- If you do use a blanket, place baby with feet to foot of the crib. Tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress, covering baby only as high as his/her chest.
- Use only a fitted bottom sheet specifically made for crib use.
- There should be no missing, loose, broken or improperly installed screws, brackets or other hardware on the crib or mattress support.
- No missing or cracked slats
- No corner posts over 1/16th inch high so a baby's clothing cannot catch.
- No cutouts in the headboard or foot board so a baby's head cannot get trapped.
- Cribs that are incorrectly assembled, have missing, loose or broken hardware or broken slats can result in entrapment or suffocation deaths. Infants can become strangled when their head and neck become entrapped in gaps created by missing, loose or broken hardware or broken slats.
Keeping Babies Safe has additional safety information and a list of recalled cribs.
Portable Cribs and Playpens
- Mesh weave is no larger than 1/4 inch. Babies may get buttons, fingers and toes caught in large weave holes causing injury
- There are no tears, holes or loose threads. Babies may get head, buttons, fingers and toes caught in holes or torn fabric causing strangulation or injury
- Space between mattress pad and crib side must not be more than one inch. Child could suffocate when caught between the mattress and the side of the crib
- Folding Cribs: Top rail latches must work automatically to prevent the unintentional collapse of crib. If the baby tries to stand in or climb out of the crib it could collapse. Check latches on top rail before each use.
- Catch points: The crib must be free of protruding rivets, metal nuts or bolts. No knobs or wing nuts on the outside legs of the crib. If the baby tries to climb out of the crib he/she can catch their clothing on a protruding piece of hardware causing strangulation
Click here for recalled portable cribs.
- No strings or cords dangling into the crib; crib gyms or mobiles removed when children can push up on hands and knees or when children are five months old
- All parts of toys are too large to be a choking hazard.
- BPA Free Department of Health & Human Services (Read more about bpa in children's products.)
- Teethers are securely molded out of one piece of hard rubber or medium plastic, with no smaller pieces that can be dislodged and choke child
- Handles are too large to become lodged in baby's throat
- Teething toys checked regularly and replaced if showing signs of disintegration
- Crotch strap keeps children from sliding out of chair
- Restraining straps are independent from tray
- Tray locks securely
- Buckles on straps easy to fasten and unfasten
- A wide base for stability
- Caps or plugs on ends of tubing firmly attached to chair
Click here for recalled high chairs.
- Safety strap to secure child
- Clamp that locks onto table for added security
- Caps or plugs on ends of tubing firmly attached (choking hazard)
- Chair never placed where child can push off with feet
- Never leave the baby unattended. Keep a hand on the baby at all times
- Shelves or drawers easily accessible so that baby not left unattended
- No yarn, ribbon, or string attached (strangulation hazard)
- Shield large enough so that it cannot fit into baby's mouth
- Shield has ventilation holes so that baby can breathe if the shield does go into the mouth
- Nipple free of holes or tears that could cause it to break off in baby's mouth (choking hazard)
Strollers and carriages
It is important to remember to never leave a child unattended in a stroller, infants only a few weeks old can move when asleep. Also, when using a stroller always be sure to properly restrain the child. A child may slip feet first through a leg opening until their head becomes entrapped between the seat and restraint bar, causing strangulation or suffocation. Look for:
- Wide base for stability
- Seat belt and crotch strap attached securely to frame
- Seat belt buckle easy to use
- Brakes firmly lock wheels
- Extra baskets or pockets are low on the back and located directly over or in front of rear wheels
Click here for recalled strollers.