I admit it; I'm one of those moms who checks her baby frequently at night to make sure she's okay. I also check my two-year-old. But with the recent news that nearly 10,000 infants are injured in cribs, playpens, and bassinets each year, who could blame me? New safety standards were set in place at the end of 2010 in hopes of significantly reducing that shocking number. Most of us are aware that companies are no longer allowed to build drop-side cribs, but the new laws also require that companies make mattress supports stronger, and hardware more durable. In addition, there are steps you can take right now to keep baby safe.

Bare Bones

The usual rules of a tight-fitting sheet, no blankets, no sleep positioners, no pillows, and no stuffed animals in the crib still apply. But in order to protect your baby, you should also say goodbye to that beautiful, pricey bumper adorning the crib. You may think it looks adorable, but it poses a serious suffocation risk to your child. And once your child is able to pull herself up, she could also use that bumper to climb over the crib rails.

Skip the Tent

Crib tents pose a strangulation risk to children, as has been shown by the tragic deaths of at least three children. When your child is old or agile enough to even just attempt to climb out of the crib, move the mattress to the lowest setting. If your child is still able to climb out or even attempt to, it's time to switch to a toddler bed. Even if your child hasn't tried to escape the crib, if she's 35 inches or taller, then start the transition to the "big kid" bed.

Back to Sleep

Your baby should always be placed on her back to sleep, unless the pediatrician tells you otherwise for health reasons. Since the Back to Sleep campaign was launched in 1994, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome occurrences have dropped by more than 50%.

Say "No Thanks" to a Hand-Me-Down Crib

It may be tempting to take that antique crib from your cousin, or reuse the crib you slept in as a baby, but second-hand cribs can pose a threat to your child. Safety regulations have changed dramatically in recent years and older cribs have larger slats, drop-side rails, corner posts, and newer mattresses that don't fit right. 11 million cribs have been recalled since 2007 alone. So shell out the cash for a new crib.

The risks to your child's safety far outweigh the cuteness of bumpers and the financial benefits of a used crib. Know and understand the safety guidelines and research crib companies before making that purchase. The crib is the only place you will leave your baby unattended. Make sure it's a safe place.

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