Baby Nursery Safety Checklist

Baby Nursery Safety Checklist

If you have a baby on the way, it is not too early to start thinking about baby proofing your home.

The topic of childproofing a house can be very extensive and after a bit of research, you may feel like everything is a hazard! It’s very stressful, to say the least. You are not alone!

I will walk you through the childproofing adventure, room by room. Let’s start today with this safety checklist for childproofing the infant nursery.

Share a room with your newborn, but not the same bed

Before thinking about the nursery you should know that when your baby is very young, he or she needs to sleep in the same bedroom as the parents! The safest location for a newborn to sleep to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is in the same bedroom as the parents but NOT in the same bed. They should sleep in their own crib or bassinet.

Do not share a bed with your infant. Bed-sharing is responsible for the majority of suffocation deaths in babies under 3 months.

Create a Safe Sleep Environment for Baby
Create a Safe Sleep Environment for Baby – infographic via NIH Safe to Sleep

You can check to see if your baby’s crib has been recalled

You should know that crib safety is federally regulated by the Consumer Protection Safety Commission. At the CPSC website, you can check out the latest guidelines and see if any crib you might already have has been recalled.

For more details about choosing the best and safest crib, read my post How to Choose the Best Infant Crib (which includes my own personal recommendations)!

How to safely use hanging crib toys

Hanging crib toys, like mobiles, should be out of baby’s reach. Hanging crib toys must be removed when the baby starts to push up on their hand and knees, or when they reach 5 months – whichever occurs first. They are a strangulation hazard if reached! This rule applies to any toys tied across the top of a playpen.

There are also crib accessories that are marketed for babies but should not be used! Crib hammocks, swings, and other similar hanging devices are a strangulation hazard for infants!

Use the crib mattress- lowering feature on time

The time to start lowering the crib mattress is before the baby can sit unassisted. It should be lowered to the lowest point before the baby can stand.

Know when your kid is too big for the crib!

By the time a baby is 35 inches (~89cm) tall, they should be taken out the crib. For those of you doing the math, that is about 3 feet tall! Congrats, you graduate to toddler-sized bed!

Mind the windows when choosing where in the room to place the crib

Cribs should not be placed near cords from a hanging window blind or drape. These cords can strangle a baby. Even if you place the infant crib away from the window, if you have window blinds, consider getting those that don’t have a hanging cord.

You should also have in mind that even if there are no hazardous window treatments near a crib, placing a crib right by a window can also expose the baby to high levels of ultraviolet radiation, heat, and even uncomfortable amounts of visible light from the sun.

Aside from windows, be sure to keep the crib away from sources of heat such as heat radiators.

Remember that your child may sleep in more than one crib

Every crib that your baby will sleep in should be inspected. Remember to check for safety additional cribs your baby may have at the grandparent’s house, daycare, etc.

A safe sleeping environment, clear from clutter!
A safe sleeping environment, free from clutter! – via NIH Safe Sleep for Baby

Keep night lights from being a fire hazard

Did you know that you can buy night lights that do not get hot? Buy only night lights that remain cool to the touch. Even if you get cool night-lights, always keep them away from drapes or beddings, where they could start a fire

Place baby on their back to sleep

The American Academy of Pediatrics has been very aggressive in promoting the Back to Sleep campaign (and rightfully so), to help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Put your baby back to sleep
A baby’s airway anatomy when lying on their backs vs. when on their tummies – graphic via NIH Safe to Sleep

The safest position for baby to sleep is on their back. You should place baby on their tummy to play during the day for supervised tummy time. My post 11 Easy tips to Reduce the Risk of SIDS is a must read for baby safety! Check out.

Do not keep fluffy items in the crib

Do not use bumper pads, quilts, comforters, pillows, stuffed toys or any other soft fluffy items in the crib. These pose a risk of suffocation or strangulation. Water beds/mattresses are also very unsafe for babies under this same principle. Large toys inside the crib can also serve as “steps” to climb out of a crib when the baby is learning to pull to stand.

Blankets fall in the fluffy item category, so try to avoid blankets during sleep time. Consider using sleep clothing that is appropriate for the temperature so that you do not need to employ additional blankets. Blankets pose a risk of suffocation.

Bare is best!
Cut the clutter! Bare is best for baby – via NIH Safe sleep for babies

Babies don’t need gimmicky positioning devices like nests, wedges, rolled blankets, or anti-roll pillows. Not only are these not needed, but they can be hazardous to your baby.

Babies don’t need gimmicky positioning devices like nests, wedges, rolled blankets, or anti-roll pillows. Not only are these not needed, but they can be hazardous to your baby.

Set up smoke alarms outside of every bedroom including the baby nursery

Smoke alarms should be installed outside of every bedroom, in furnace areas, and on every level of the home including the basement. Test alarms at least once a month to make sure they work. Get alarms with long-life batteries made with lithium. If you get standard batteries, they should be changed at least once a year.

Install carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your home

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly toxic gas that has no smell or color, but can easily leak into your home from appliances or heaters that burn oil, gas, wood, kerosene or propane.

Secure furniture to the walls

Most tall furniture pieces come with hardware that helps you secure it to the wall so that it won’t topple over. This is important not only in the event of an earthquake but also to make it safe for climbing toddlers.

Dressers of all sizes and bookcases, for example, can topple onto a climbing toddler. If you do not have the safety harness hardware, contact the manufacturer to see if they can provide it for you.

Toybox safety

The best way to keep a safe toy chest or toybox is to have one that does not have a lid. You can use a large basket without a lid for toys.

Baby Nursery Safety Checklist
Here’s my recommendation for a cute, functional and safe toy basket from Amazon. (Using our link may earn us a small commission to support the blog, at no cost to you)

Keep small objects away

Search the floors often to check for any loose small objects that can be a choking hazard for baby. Think pins, coins, buttons, screws, tiny toys, etc.

In the realm of small objects, I have to make an additional note for batteries, especially button batteries. Batteries can be very harmful to infants and toddlers if swallowed or if they are inserted into the nose or ears. Make sure that all battery-operated devices have the battery compartment securely closed, and keep them away from children.

Also in the realm of small objects, I must also remind you of being very careful with magnets! When more than one magnet is swallowed, they can cause very serious problems in the GI tract.

Cover the electrical outlets

Covering the electrical outlets is the first thing I think about when I think about childproofing a room. I will never understand how electrical outlets look so enticing to infants and toddlers! You will find a myriad of products that are useful for covering the electrical outlets, but make sure that they are not a choking hazard. Consider blocking the electrical outlets with furniture, if possible.

Keep the Poison Help Phone number accessible

Post the Poison Help number 1-800-222-1222 by every phone in your home and save the number into your cell phone.

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Baby Nursery Safety Checklist

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