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Nursery Sheet Sets & Crib Safety Reminders

Aug 17, 2007
Sheets in cribs or beds can sometimes be hazardous to babies. Since 1984, The Consumer Protection Safety Commision has learned of the deaths of 17 babies, most under 12 months old, who suffocated or strangled primarily when they became entangled in sheets in their cribs or beds. Two of these deaths related to fitted crib sheets.

CPSC staff has worked actively to strengthen safety requirements for fitted crib sheets. Consumers soon will see warning labels on fitted crib sheets stressing the importance of a secure fit on crib mattresses. CPSC staff and industry also are working together to improve the fit of these sheets on mattresses. To prevent tragedies, parents and caretakers can take the following precautions to ensure a safer sleeping environment for their young children.

1. Make sure crib sheets fit snugly on a crib mattress and overlap the mattress so it cannot be dislodged by pulling on the corner of the sheet.

2. Never use an adult sheet on a crib mattress; it can come loose and present an entanglement hazard to young children.

3. Place a baby on his/her back on a firm, tight-fitting mattress in a crib meeting current safety standards.

4. Remove pillows, quilts, comforters, and sheepskins from the crib.

Are you using your crib safely? For infants less than 12 months of age, follow these practices to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and prevent suffocation. Place your baby on his/her back in a crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress. Do not put pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, pillow-like bumper pads or pillow-like stuffed toys in the crib.

Also consider using a sleeper instead of a blanket. If you do use a blanket, place baby with feet to foot of the crib. Tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress, covering baby only as high as his/her chest. Use only a fitted bottom sheet made specifically for crib use.

Have you check your crib for safety? There should be a firm, tight-fitting mattress so baby can't get trapped between the mattress and the crib. No missing, loose, broken or improperly installed screws, brackets, or other hardware on the crib or mattress support.

Also there should be no more than 2 3/8 inches (about the width of a soda can) between the crib slats so a baby's body can't fit through the slats; no missing or cracked slats. No corner posts over 1/16th inch high so a baby's clothing can't catch. Make sure there are no cutouts in the headboard or foot board so a baby's head can't get trapped.

For mesh-sided cribs and playpens, look for mesh less than 1/4 inch in size, smaller than the tiny buttons on a baby's clothing. The mesh should have no tears, holes or loose threads that could entangle a baby. Be sure the mesh is securely attached to the top rail and floor plate. Inspect the top rail for tears or holes. If staples are used, they are not missing, loose or exposed.

What is the purpose of the full-size baby crib rule? This rule seeks to prevent deaths and injuries from falls, entrapment, and contact with parts inside or outside a crib. Where can you find the requirements for full-size cribs? The requirements are published in the Code of Federal Regulations in Title 16, Part 1508. Cribs that do not meet one or more of the requirements are banned hazardous substances under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, 15 U.S.C. 1261(q)(1)(A).

What is a full-size baby crib? A full-size baby crib is a bed designed to provide sleeping accommodations for an infant, that is intended for use in or around the home, and that is not covered under the rule for non-full-size cribs, 16 C.F.R. Part 1509. The interior of a full-size crib is 52 inches long by 28 inches wide.

What are the requirements for cribs? If a crib has the top rail that drops down to help place an infant in or take him or her out of the crib, to prevent the child from falling out. The top of the adjustable rail at its highest position must be at least 26 inches above the of the mattress support at its lowest position. The top of the adjustable rail at its lowest position must be at least 9 inches above the top of the mattress support at its highest position.

To prevent children from strangling because their bodies can slip through openings but their heads cannot, parts such as slats, spindles, corner posts and rods cannot be more than 2 3/8 inches apart at any point, and cannot be greater than 2 1/2 inches apart when the loading wedge test described below is performed. The loading wedge is a right triangle prism with a base of 4 3/4 inches, a height of 2 1/8 inches measured at a right angle between the midpoint of the base and the bottom of the pulling attachment, and a width of 1 1/2 inches.

Please consult the regulation for the specifications for the pulling attachment. To measure the strength of slats and other parts, place the nose of a loading wedge midway between two parts and midway between the top and bottom horizontal rails, and apply a 20 lb. force in the direction that pulls the nose of the wedge between the parts.

To prevent head entrapment, the space between contoured or irregular slats or spindles shall not allow a rectangular block 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/4 inches by 3 1/4 inches inserted in any position to pass through immediately above or below the loading wedge when the loading wedge test described above is performed.

Hardware accessible to a child must be designed and constructed so that it does not pinch, bruise, crush, lacerate, break, or amputate any part of a child's body during normal use of or reasonably foreseeable damage or abuse to the crib. Locking devices for dropside rails must require two distinct actions or a minimum of 10 pounds of force for release. Wood screws may not be used to connect stationary sides, dropside rails, folding rails or stabilizing bars to crib ends or other parts that a consumer must remove during normal disassembly.

All wood surfaces must be smooth and free from splinters. Also all wood parts should be free from splits, cracks, or other defects that might cause a crib or any of its parts to fall off or come apart. The end panels and sides, including any attachments, cannot have any horizontal bar, any ledge or projection with a depth greater than 3/8 inch, or any other surface that a child inside the crib might use as a toehold.

This only applies to possible toeholds located less than 20 inches above the mattress support in its lowest position when the side rail is in its highest position. The crib may still have a lower horizontal crib rail that is no more than 3 inches high, but there can be no gap between the bottom of that rail and the top surface of the mattress support.

Every crib must be sold with detailed assembly instructions as well as identifying marks,cautionary statements and compliance declarations. Please refer to the regulation for the contents and placement of the required information, as well as for the requirements for keeping records of the sale and distribution of cribs.

To prevent a risk of strangulation, the crib regulation contains a test to evaluate whether cutouts such as decorative openings sometimes found on the tops of the ends of a crib create a risk of head or neck entrapment. The test requires that a specially designed probe that simulates a child's head and neck be inserted into each cutout according to a precise procedure.

What type of mattress should I use in a full-size crib? To prevent head entrapment and suffocation between the mattress and crib sides, a mattress used in full-size cribs must be at least 27 1/4 inches by 51 5/8 inches with a thickness not exceeding 6 inches. The assembly instructions, the retail carton for the crib, and the crib itself must contain a specific warning statement that contains these dimensions.

Does CPSC have any other requirements that apply to full-size cribs? Yes. Under the Ban of Lead-Containing Paint and Certain Consumer Products bearing Lead-Containing Paint, 16 C.F.R. Part 1303, no crib may be painted with paint that contains more than .06% lead.

Are there any other standards for full size cribs? ASTM F 1169 and ASTM F 966 contain voluntary requirements related to full size baby cribs and to corner extension posts for full and non-full size cribs.
About the Author
Jerry Johnson owns the Nursery Sheet Sets For Sale as well as several other successful webstores. Jerry and his wife Gloria are eagerly awaiting their time as grandparents. Vist the
Nursery Sheet Sets For Sale for great buys on brand name crib sheets.
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