Safe Kids, Safe Cribs
Madison Area Safe Kids Coalition coordinator Nan Peterson, RN, MS, a pediatric nurse at American Family Children’s Hospital, presented the crib to Madison’s Mai Lor Vue (above, holding child). Ms. Lor Vue’s son, Lucky, was born three weeks ago on December 1.
“Anything we can do to get safe cribs into homes can very easily save the life of an infant,” said Peterson.
Michelle Reinen of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said safe cribs can be purchased for about $70, but costs often escalate to the $500 range for fancier models. But more expensive doesn’t always translate to safer, and safety should be the primary consideration.
The health threat of inadequate cribs is often underestimated. The Safe Kids Coalition, a worldwide childhood safety advocacy organization whose Madison office is located at American Family Children’s Hospital, publishes an extensive crib checklist on its Web site that instructs parents and caregivers on measures to ensure crib safety.
Amongst its recommendations:
- Slats should be no more than 2-3/8 inches apart to prevent toddlers from getting their heads stuck (if you can fit a soda can through the slats, they’re too far apart)
- The crib mattress should fit tightly, with no slack areas
- The mattress should be covered with a taut crib sheet
Safe Kids also warns against the image of the happy infant comfortably ensconced in his crib, surrounded by a mountain of pillows and stuffed animals. These, along with loose-fitting sheets and heavy blankets, are suffocation hazards. A safe crib, the organization says, is clutter-free.
For parents who prefer to have their children sleep in the same room, Reinen suggests a crib equipped with wheels for easy rolling rather than sleeping in the same bed.
“The crib can be easily moved into Mom’s and Dad’s room and the child still has a safe sleeping area,” she said.
Parents are also asked to do a little research before a crib purchase to make sure the model they have their eyes on has not been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The agency’s most recent recall occurred in September, when one million cribs manufactured by Simplicity were deemed unsafe because of a defective crib drop-side.
Reinen recommended the CPSC’s Web site as the best resource for up-to-date information on recalls.
Safe Kids, Safe Cribs is funded by a $15,000 gift from Unity Health Insurance. The program hopes to provide new cribs at no charge to approximately 150 low-income families.
“Thanks to Unity, we are thrilled to launch this program on behalf of the infants of Dane County,” said Peterson.
Date Published: 12/28/2007