A study in the March issue of Pediatrics shows that as many as 26 infants and toddlers are rushed to emergency rooms each day for injuries involving cribs, play yards or bassinets. Most of the injuries (83%) are crib related. One of the lead authors on the study was Dr. Gary Smith, KID's Best Friend Award Honoree in 2010.
Much attention (rightly) has been focused on suffocation and strangulation deaths in poorly designed cribs or those with hardware problems. But this study highlights that most injuries involving cribs are related to falls. Some of the falls are also hardware related when a side rail comes loose or may be caused by mattresses set too high, children still sleeping in cribs when they can attempt to climb out or soft bedding that provides a foothold for climbers.
Parents can prevent injuries by
- checking their crib for loose or missing hardware,
- making sure their crib hasn't been recalled,
- Lowering the mattress setting to the lowest level when a child starts to push up on hands and knees,
- keeping the drop-side* in the top position,
- removing any soft bedding that can provide a foothold or suffocation risk,
- moving the child to a toddler bed or even a mattress on the floor as soon as they reach 2 years, 35 inches or show signs of attempting to climb out.
The data in the study will be useful to CPSC and ASTM International as they look for design changes or stronger warnings to prevent falls and other injuries.
*The drop-side is dangerous for many other reasons too.