15 Safety Tips for Baby’s Nursery

Planning your dream nursery is one of the most fun parts of expecting a baby. Which nursery theme should you choose? What crib style goes best with your nursery design? Should you take a DIY approach or hire a professional?

It’s a lot to think about, we know. But before you get too deep into those questions, it’s important to remember that baby’s safety is a top priority. According to a report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were an estimated 59,000 injuries related to nursery products among children under the age of five in 2018.

To avoid becoming another statistic, making sure that your baby’s nursery is safe and secure is crucial. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind to help you identify potential hazards in your little one’s nursery. 

The Crib

1. Choose a crib that meets current safety standards. Think twice before buying a second-hand crib. Cribs manufactured prior to 2011 may not meet the CPSC’s current crib safety standards. In addition to banning drop-side rail cribs, the new rules call for more strict testing requirements to strengthen crib slats and mattress supports. 

2. Make sure that the mattress fits snugly inside the crib. There shouldn’t be any gaps between the mattress and the inside of the crib. To ensure your baby’s safety, try this: See if you can fit two fingers in between the crib and the mattress. If you can fit both fingers, it’s not safe for the baby.

3. Remember: “bare is best.” While it may be tempting to decorate the baby’s crib with cute blankets and stuffed animals, the CPSC urges that “bare is best.” Pillows, blankets, comforters and toys in the crib are a suffocation hazard and should be avoided. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with crib décor. Choose your favorite baby girl bedding in a cute pattern and let it steal the show. 

4. Position the crib away from potential hazards. Safe and sturdy crib? Check. Now, you need to figure out where you’re going to put the crib. Avoid placing the crib near windows. Along with the risk of your baby falling out the window, the cords and blinds can be dangerous for a baby’s exploring hands. Also, be sure to keep the crib away from heaters, fireplaces, lamps and other furniture.

The Changing Table

5. Make sure your changing table is sturdy and stable. Always inspect your changing table before you place the baby on it, especially if you’re using a collapsible changing table. Over time, collapsible changing tables can break down and may need to be repaired or replaced. Fortunately, many standard changing tables come with hardware that allows you to anchor it securely to a wall. If you’re using a dresser as a changing table, you’ll need to buy anchors or braces separately.

6. Never leave your baby unattended on a changing table. Not even for a split second. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries among children. To prevent your baby from falling off the changing table, always keep at least one hand on the baby. For an extra level of protection, use a safety strap and choose a changing table with guard rails.

7. Keep diaper essentials within reach. Dealing with a squirmy baby? Try to keep all your diapering essentials within easy reach—including toys! Giving your baby an age-appropriate toy to play with while you change his diaper can help distract him, making diaper changes much easier and safer.

8. Know the age or weight limit of your changing table. Be aware of the recommended weight or age limit of your changing table. Once your baby exceeds the manufacturer’s recommended limits, upgrade your changing table or simply change your baby on the floor.

The Playpen

9. Use a playpen that was manufactured after 2013. This is when the CPSC last updated their playpen safety standards. To ensure that you’re using a safe model, don’t buy your playpen second-hand.

10. Inspect your playpen regularly. Specifically, look for signs of wear and tear on the bottom of the playpen. Mind the age/weight limit of the playpen, and stop using it when your child can easily climb out of it.

11. Take a minimalist approach. Similar to the crib, the playpen should have no additional stuffed animals, toys, pillows, cushions and blankets while your baby is sleeping. If your little one falls asleep, remove these items immediately. 

Basic Nursery Safety Tips

12. Secure furniture and shelving. Your little newborn isn’t moving around much right now. But think ahead: Toddlers love to run around and climb all over things. To keep your adventurous little tot safe in the future, be sure to secure furniture and shelves to the wall. Doing this essential task as you’re setting up nursery furniture is much easier than trying to remember to do it later.

13. Baby-proof electrical outlets and cords. If you’ve already baby-proofed the rest of the house—great! Now, do the same with the nursery by covering electrical outlets and keeping electrical cords safe from the baby. Again, your little one may not seem curious right now, but they’ll be crawling around before you know it.

14. Block off the staircase. If the nursery is on a second floor, buy a baby gate that screws into the wall. Avoid pressure-mounted gates for the stairs, as these may not stand up to an adventurous (and determined) toddler.

15. Install a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Place a working carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm near the nursery. Consider upgrading to an interconnected system that alerts you to a problem no matter where it originates in the house.

Crafting a Safe and Functional Baby Nursery

Designing your dream nursery is about more than just choosing a nursery design and picking out cute décor. To keep little one safe as she grows, making the nursery a safe and secure place for your baby is essential. By following these nursery safety tips, you can turn the baby’s room into a happy place where cherished memories are made.