Crib Safety Standards

Written by cynthia gomez
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Crib Safety Standards
New cribs must meet certain safety requirements. (babies crib image by jedphoto from

Young children need constant supervision, but parents have to sleep sometime, so you need to know that when you lay your little one down for the night, she is safe in her crib. Mandatory standards established by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are meant to ensure that cribs are safe.


While safety standards do not mandate that cribs be a certain dimension, they do set forth some important measurements for the crib slats. The width between slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches; this is to ensure that a baby can't fit through them. If you can fit a can of soda through the slats, there is too much space.


Cribs with drop-down rails must have at least 26 inches between the highest setting and the mattress support when set at its lowest position, and the top of the adjustable rail must, at its lowest position, be at least 9 inches above the top of the mattress support when set at its highest position.

Decorative Details

Many older cribs have decorative cutouts on the head and foot panels. However, the CPSC prohibits such decorations if a special probed designed to mimic a child's head can fit through them. Additionally, corner posts should not exceed 1/16 inch above the end panels, even when there are decorative knobs. The goal of this is to prevent an infant's clothing from catching.


The hangers that keep the mattress support in place need to be secured to the frame of the crib with either bolts or closed hooks. The reason for this is that if the mattress support hanger were to become unhooked, the support could create a space between the crib's side panels and the mattress into which an infant could easily slide and get trapped. Additionally, hardware that a child can access must not pinch, bruise or otherwise hurt the child during normal use of the crib. Wood screws can't be used to connect stationary sides of the crib, drop-down or folding rails, or stabilising bars. Lastly, locking devices for the drop-down rails must require two separate actions or a minimum of 4.54 Kilogram of force to change position.


The crib mattress should fit snugly in the crib. More than two fingers' width between the edge of the mattress and the crib is too much space to ensure crib safety. Additionally, crib mattresses need to provide adequate support for a baby's body.

Construction and Finishing

Wood must be smooth and free from splinters, cracks and other imperfections that may cause harm to a child. Vertical bars or attachments located less than 20 inches over the mattress support with a depth greater than 3/8 of an inch are also prohibited, because these can be used as toeholds by children trying to climb out.

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