While cribs, play yards and bassinets should provide the safest environments for children to be left alone, they are associated with a surprising number of injuries. According to a report released in February by the American Academy of Pediatrics, those products are associated with an average of 9,561 emergency room visits per year. The biggest culprit, representing 83 percent of the injuries are cribs, followed by play yards and bassinets at 13 and 4 percent, respectively.
Two thirds of crib-related injuries were due to falls, with the head and neck being most frequently injured. The nature of those injuries is due to the top-heavy weight distribution of young children. Their higher center of gravity makes it easier to fall over the side of the crib. These incidents only become more common as children get older and taller, which is why it is important to move your child from a crib to a bed as soon as he or she outgrows the crib.
Your toddler is outgrowing his or her crib if:
- The child is a height of 32 to 35 inches
- The child can pull up off the crib floor by hanging from the sides
- The child can climb up the sides of the crib
It's also essential to have a mattress that's the appropriate size for the crib because otherwise the child can become wedged between the mattress and the crib, incurring serious or fatal injuries.
We've reported extensively on this blog about the problems with cribs. More than 9 million cribs have been recalled since September 2007 due to safety concerns. Inadequate drop-side designs have contributed to at least 32 deaths in the past 9 years due to entrapment, entanglement and strangulation. Drop-side cribs have now all but disappeared from the market and no longer comply with current safety standards.
Still, an average of 26 children are injured per day in cribs: an alarmingly high number. Moreover, between 1990 and 2008, an average of 113 deaths per year have been associated with cribs. On February 16th, a bassinet recall was issued for Burlington Basket Company bassinets because they could collapse and injure infants.
Due to the constant stream of baby product recalls, it's crucial that parents and caretakers are especially cautious. We no longer recommend the use of drop-side cribs. In addition, it is important to be aware of what's inside the crib with the child. When it comes to a child's safety, a bare crib is best.
What NOT to put in a crib:
- Quilts and comforters
- Stuffed animals
- Bumper pads
- Baby monitors
- Crib tent or mesh canopy
- Sleep positioners