Nursery Safety Series – Part 2: Bedding

We love a beautiful and well-designed nursery as much as the next person, but first and foremost, safety must be a concern. Last week in our nursery safety series, we discussed crib safety. This time we’ll go more specific in the safety of the individual bedding items. The very bedding the you coo over could be very detrimental to baby, so follow this tips to prevents SIDS and protect the life of your baby.

As we discussed in the last blog post, the mattress itself is extremely important. It should be firm, but not too firm that it provides discomfort for your baby. You should not be able to insert more than two fingers between the crib and the mattress.

Stuffed animals can be of contention to your little one. Yes, they are adorable and fun to look at, but they can pose a significant risk of suffocation to your baby. The best way to display stuffed animals is on chairs or shelving. Babies should play with stuffed animals only when supervised.

Crib bumpers have become a much debated subject with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Crib bumpers have been frowned upon because they inhibit the circulation of fresh air in the crib, which can lead to SIDS. Older babies may also use the bumper to escape out of the crib. However, bumpers do protect your child from bumps and bruises, especially on the head. So, to bumper or not to bumper? If you decide to purchase a bumper, use these safety precautions:

  1. Opt for a firmer bumper rather than a soft, pillowy one to avoid suffocation.
  2. Make sure any ties are 7 – 9 inches long. Any shorter and they won’t stay tied, any longer and they are a strangulation risk.
  3. Avoid using bumpers that attach only at the top. Opt for bumpers that have 12-16 ties on the top and the bottom of the bumper to ensure it’s secure and doesn’t pose a strangulation risk.
  4. There should be no overlaps or gaps in the padding. Make sure it fits snugly with the mattress.

Now they make breathable mesh bumpers to help circulate the oxygen inside of the crib to decrease the risk of SIDS.

There’s also safety precautions to take with your covers and sheets. Opt for a snugly-fitting crib sheet with Velcro straps – it should not slip at all. Some sheets have elastic only at the corners. The sheets you purchase should have elastic all the way around to keep it firmly in place. Bedding can also shrink after the first washing, depending on the material. Sheets that are 100% cotton rather than other blends tend to hold up better after several wash/dry cycles.

Blankets should be thin and breathable. Any heavy comforter poses a risk of suffocation. Tuck the blanket firmly inside of the mattress in between the crib and the wall. The blanket should be no higher than your baby’s chest. The covers should be made with cotton-based thread – any nylon thread will start to come apart and ball up when put in the dryer, posing a choking risk to the baby.

Many nursery sets are absolutely beautiful, and it’s hard to stop for a second and consider safety. Not making the right decisions in bedding can cause injury or, in some tragic cases, death. Follow these general tips to make sure your baby is happy and healthy; after all, the safety of your baby ultimately rests with you.