Crib safety is crucial to preventing serious injury and death. The federal government closely monitors crib safety and has issued several compulsory standards for all crib mattresses sold in the United States.
Foam and innerspring mattresses are the two most common types of crib mattresses, and both are acceptable. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends using a firm, flat mattress to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
A gap between the mattress and crib sides can pose a serious risk of suffocation. Crib mattresses must be at least 27 1/4 inches wide by 51 5/8 inches long to eliminate this risk. The maximum thickness for crib mattresses is six inches; a thicker crib mattress reduces the effective height of the crib sides, placing the baby at risk for a serious fall.
By law, the minimum crib mattress dimensions must be listed in a warning statement on the crib retail packaging, on the assembly instructions and on the crib itself.
Older cribs that were not manufactured to current standards may allow a large gap between the sides of the crib and a standard crib mattress. If you can fit more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib side, your crib is unsafe.
In 2007, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a new flammability standard for crib mattresses; all mattresses sold in the United States must pass an open-flame test. Manufacturers may use flame-retardant chemicals or fibres to meet this standard.
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