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Keeping your baby safe in the crib

Many new families looking to save money may think about getting a used crib for their newborn, but it's one of several things that could actually make a baby's crib unsafe. Jessica Hartshorn, Senior Lifestyle Editor for American Baby gives some crib safety tips for parents.

Consider buying the crib new. Some used cribs have traditional drop sides, which don't meet the latest safety standards. They might also have faulty or missing parts. If you accept a hand me down, check to see if it's been recalled and then inspect it.

Test the mattress in the crib. Make sure there's only a slight indent or none at all-when you press on it gently. You also don't want more than two fingers' width between the edge of the mattress and the side of the crib. The mattress pad and crib sheet should fit tightly.

Place your crib away from windows. Cords, blinds, and drapes pose a strangulation risk. Plus, it could be drafty near windows during cool months, or hot and bright in the summer. Keep anything with cords, such as a baby monitor, out of the crib and off any surface where your baby can reach them.

Skip the bumpers. People used to think they prevented minor injuries, but the risk of suffocation outweighs potential benefits. Bumpers also obscure your newborn's line of vision so she can't explore the room with her eyes.

Stuffed animals, blankets and pillows should never enter the crib. A mobile is fine, but keep it high enough so your infant can't reach it while lying on her back. Remove it when your child can push up onto her hands and knees.

To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS, always put your baby to sleep on her back. Keep your baby's room around 68 degrees. Offer a pacifier when you put baby to sleep. It's been shown to keep babies safe.

For more information on keeping your baby safe in the crib and other parenting tips, click here.

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