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Here's how to choose the perfect—and safest—model. Even if you choose to start out with a bassinet or a bedside sleeper, every baby eventually needs a crib. General bedtime safety Ventilation Make sure baby's room is well-ventilated, adding a fan to the space if necessary.

Evidence shows this helps prevent SIDS.

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  • Temperature Err on the side of a cooler room — this promotes better respiratory stimulation in baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests keeping the room between 65 and 70 degrees.

    Certification Whatever product you buy should be safety certified by the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association. Keep in mind that crib safety standards changed after June 28, , when drop-side rail cribs were banned.

    Positioning Babies should always be put to bed on their backs—this is the safest position for SIDS prevention.

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    Mattress While a soft, quilted mattress might sound comfy, it actually poses a suffocation risk for baby. Look for a firm mattress, which will also offer better support. Crib Installation Use the manual!

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  • Height Make sure your crib is low enough to the ground so that you can reach in and get baby out without trouble. Lowering feature This adjustment lets you lower the mattress as baby grows, so that she continues to be safe in the crib while keeping you from needing to reach down farther than necessary to pick her up.

    For the same reason, avoid cribs with cutouts in the headboard or footboard. Convertible options Some cribs can later transform into toddler and even full-size beds.

    Just be sure you actually like how the product looks in its future form if you go this route. If you can get more than two fingers between the mattress and the sides of the crib, the mattress is too small. Bedding The only bedding baby needs is a waterproof pad and a soft, tightly fitted bottom sheet. Knit cotton, flannel and high-count woven cotton are good options for fabric.

    Wash the bedding before you first use it to remove any potential skin-irritating chemicals left over from the manufacturing process. After that, wash weekly or whenever baby spits up, pees or otherwise soils the bedding. Use a mild, unscented detergent. According to guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics set in October , crib bumpers do not protect against injury and actually pose a risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment. Wash the bed skirt once a month or so.

    Like it takes Clark Kent only a second to become Superman. Coconut husk mattress is the mattress that is hard and is very cooling, but not the most expensive.

    Entertainment devices Many moms swear by soothing products that clip onto the side rails of cribs like play! Sleep positioners These triangle-shaped devices that support babies on either side to them on their backs make some parents feel safer. Check the hinges for stability, and look carefully for any sharp parts or protruding metal. Make sure the wood is smooth and splinter-free, and repaint any cracked or peeling paint.

    Check older cribs for lead paint, and stay on top of the CPSC's recall list.

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    Skip Crib clutter No blankets, pillows, toys, or stuffed animals should be in the crib—these all pose suffocation hazards. Keep baby warm with a swaddling blanket, layered clothing or an insulated sleep sack. They may get comfortable and mark it as their territory, which can prove disastrous when baby comes home and the pet tries to jump into the crib.

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