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Hospital Infant Cribs - Think Safety First!
The most important consideration when evaluating and purchasing hospital cribs can be summed up in one word – SAFETY. More infants are injured, even killed, every year in accidents involving hospital cribs than with any other nursery product. The hospital cribs should be manufactured to the strictest standards and will stand the test of time providing the safety and comfort your unit, and the infant, demands.
Since you’re in the market for hospital cribs, it’s absolutely critical to buy hospital cribs that are new. Used hospital cribs come with enormous safety risks; even the Consumer Product Safety Commission discourages the use of used hospital cribs. According to the CPSC's statistics, almost 35 babies die each year from injuries associated with cribs, many of which are older, used cribs that are in disrepair or that predate current safety standards.
With safety in mind, here are few things to consider when you get your crib:
Before placing a child in the crib, make sure all screws and bolts are securely tightened.
- Use a tight fitting mattress. If you can fit more than two fingers between the edge of the mattress and the side of the crib, the mattress is too small. Infants can suffocate if their heads get wedged between the mattress and side of the crib.
- Use a firm, flat mattress. Do not use pillows, quilts, stuffed animals, sheepskin, or soft bedding in hospital cribs as infants can choke on these and suffocate.
- To reduce the risk of SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – and prevent infants from suffocating, lay infants on their backs.
- Don’t place the crib near window blinds or drapes. They can strangle on the adjustment cords or can fall through the screens. The CPSC has received numerous reports of strangulation deaths on window blind cords throughout the years. If there is simply nowhere else to place the crib, then it is advisable to take necessary measures that will keep the cords out of reach (i.e. use a clamp, clothes pin, tie the cord to itself, etc.).
- Don’t use strings to hang objects – such as mobiles, toys, or diaper bags – on or near the hospital crib. Infants can get caught in these and strangle themselves. If you have such toys with cords or elastic strings used for hanging, cut them off.
- Always lock side rails in their raised positions when you place infants in the crib. When the child is able to sit on its own, lower the crib mattress. If the child can stand, adjust the mattress to its lowest position and remove any bumper pads or large toys. Active toddlers could use these to climb out or fall out of the crib. When they are in the crib, always keep the sides up and locked.
- When the sides of the crib are lowered, they should be a minimum of 9 inches above the mattress.
- The side rails should be operated with a locking, hand-operated latch that is secure from accidental release.
- Place a carpet or rug underneath the crib.
- If the crib has wheels, lock the casters when the crib is in its final place. Be sure to check the casters before placing the infant in the crib.
- Periodically check all hospital crib hardware. Consistently tighten all nuts, bolts, screws.
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