Babyproofing Your Nursery
Decorating your baby's nursery is fabulously fun. Picking out pretty paint colors, sweet furniture, adorable decals and plush rugs. It's enough to make a preggy mama jump up and down with glee (if she could jump up and down, that is). But before you get carried away with the décor, remember to think safety first! Your kid is going to spend a lot of time in his room, so you need to make sure it's super safe. Here's how to babyproof your nursery: The Crib Make sure your crib meets current safety standards. Sure, that hand-me-down antique crib your Aunt Martha has had in her basement for 40 years is gorgeous, but if it isn't safe it isn't worth it. Here's what to look for in a safe crib:
- Be sure to use a firm, tight-fitting mattress so your babe can't get trapped in the gap between the mattress and the crib. Also, you may want to get a new mattress. There's a correlation between SIDS cases and used mattresses.
- Make sure there's no more than 2 3/8 inches (about the width of a can of Coke) between crib slats so your baby can't slide through the slats. And make sure all of the slats are intact.
- Be sure to properly install the crib and make sure there are no missing screws or brackets.
- Make sure the corner posts of the crib aren't more than 16th of an inch high so your baby can't get his clothing snagged.
- They might look nice, but you want to avoid any cutout in the headboard or footboard so baby can get his little bod stuck in there.
- Keep your kid's crib free of blankets, large stuffed animals and plastic bags. Don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but your kid can suffocate in 'em.
- If you use a bumper, take it off when your kid can stand up. You don't want him to use it as a launch pad to propel himself out of the crib.
- Try to avoid placing furniture that your kid can crawl up on near the window. Someday soon he'll be climbing up on everything and you don't want to risk him plunging out the window.
- If your nursery is on a second story, install safety guards on the window. A screen does not count as a safety guard. Babies can push right through the mesh.
- Make sure those pretty drapes you bought don't have cords or ties that hang down. They're a strangulation hazard. Cut the cords off, tie 'em up with cord stops or better yet, invest in cordless window coverings.
You know that adorable nightlight you bought for those "Mommy, I'm scared of the dark" moments? Keep it away from your kid's crib and from any flammable drapes.
Install a smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector in your baby's room and make sure to change the batteries every 6 months. This is a great job for the new papa in the house!
Make sure to plug up all of the electrical outlets in the nursery. You don't want your little man (or lady!) sticking his little fingers or some dangerous implement in there.
- Anchor all of the heavy furniture, like tall bookcases, in baby's room. You don't want it to fall on him if, actually when he climbs up on it.
- Don't hang shelves or artwork directly over baby's crib for obvious reasons.
- If you're using pre-1978 furniture, have it tested to make sure it isn't painted with lead paint. Ditto with the wall paint!