Learn important information on insuring the safety of your baby. This includes choosing a safe mattress, baby bed, and changing table.
Nothing is more important than the safety of your precious baby. Your baby is relying on you to provide him with comfortable, safe furniture. Making well-informed choices when purchasing or borrowing baby furniture is the first step to insure his or her safety.
A friend or well-meaning relative may offer you a baby bed or other piece of baby furniture that has been passed down from generation to generation. Although attractive, older baby furniture often does not meet today’s standards for safety. There are many points to consider before choosing to use an older piece of baby furniture.
Painted, second-hand furniture may pose a health risk if the paint used was lead-based. Paint purchased before 1978 may contain dangerous levels of lead. If you are unsure when the furniture in question was painted, do not use that furniture without first stripping and refinishing it. Lead has been proven to cause serious health problems in infants and children, including brain damage.
A couple of major concerns with using an older crib or playpen are the width of the bars, and the height of the corner posts. Many older baby beds and playpens were designed with the slats spaced at an unsafe distance. In order to meet modern-day safety standards, the bars of a crib or playpen should be no more than 2-3/8 inches apart. Corner posts should be no more than 1/16 of an inch above the furniture. Corner posts can catch clothing, and create a strangulation risk.
Older baby beds can also be a problem because of ill-fitting mattresses. A baby can suffocate between the mattress and the bed, if the mattress doesn’t fit properly. Newer mattresses are not designed to fit older cribs. Because of tragic injuries and deaths, safety standards have changed over the years. Space between the crib and the mattress should be no more than the width of two fingers.
When buying new or used baby furniture, look it over carefully before deciding to purchase. With used furniture, check for worn parts, or parts that may be missing or damaged. New furniture isn’t always perfect either. Look for missing or defective parts, as well as parts that do not appear to fit properly.
If the furniture in question is wood, check for protruding nails and screws. Also, be sure that the wood is smooth and splinter-free. Wooden baby bed rails should be covered with a plastic protector designed for teething.
Furniture with sharp, pointed corners can also be hazardous to a baby or small child. If you must use furniture with sharp corners, protective corner covers can be found in the child safety section of most discount stores. They are reasonably priced, and will more than likely save your baby from a nasty cut on the head.
When shopping for a changing table, test it for sturdiness by giving it a moderate shake. A sturdy changing table will not wobble much. It should also have a safety strap that is strong, and free of unraveled material or broken stitches.
It is imperative to take the time to fill out and send in the warranty cards that come with new baby furniture. This enables manufacturers to contact you in the event of a recall. If your baby furniture is found to have a safety issue, the manufacturer will usually replace or repair the item for free. Periodically check with the store where you purchased your baby furniture to make sure there hasn’t been a recall. Most major discount retailers have bulletin boards especially for recall notices.
Check your baby’s furniture on a regular basis. Look for anything that could pose a threat to his or her safety. Trust your instincts. If you are unsure about the safety of a piece of baby furniture, it is best not to take a chance. When in doubt, throw it out!