What Should Be in a Baby’s Crib?. 

This was the question that launched the survey Dr. Amanda Soong conducted to find out what grandparents knew about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) current recommendations for baby safety and nutrition.

English: A sleeping male baby with his arm ext...

A sleeping baby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My awesome daughter-in-law spotted a story on moms.today.com about the fact that Grandparents flunked the quiz.

She told me about it because she knows I use this blog to try to keep grandparents updated on changes that concern their grandchildren.

A discussion with Dr. Soong’s own Mom prompted her conversation with grandparents in three grandparenting groups, which led to her presenting the survey results at the annual AAP conference.

I interviewed Dr. Soong to find out more about the reason she initiated the survey and what she found.

The survey that 49 grandparents completed included 15 questions.

This was question number eight. How would you have done?

What Should Be in a Baby’s Crib?

The choices were (I will tell you the answer in a minute).

  • Bumpers around the edge (18.4% of the grandparents surveyed picked this answer)
  • A few stuffed animals (2%)
  • Blankets (4.1%)
  • Mattress and sheet (26.5%)
  • All of the above (49%).

The correct answer is mattress and sheet.

The reason is that soft bedding puts babies at risk for suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), up to one year.

Further, the mattress should be firm and fit the crib it is in, not be designed for another crib.

Grandparents failed this big time. Only 26.5% got the right answer.

Now that we’re grandparents we want to dress up a crib with all that cute bedding we couldn’t afford when our babies were born.

When Dr. Soong’s mother saw her intended grandchild’s bare crib, she objected to her daughter.

“It’s kind of boring.”

Soong says that the fact that she and her husband are both pediatricians helped when they insisted that, though boring, a mattress and sheet is the safest sleeping option for babies.

Why Do You See Crib Bumpers in All the Ads?

They’re cute, the bumpers that match the blankets and the curtains.

It’s not just that they are not necessary to protect a baby’s head from bumping into the wooden crib slats since babies don’t move with enough force to hurt themselves.

Protecting them from getting their head caught between the slats, which was their original purpose, is no longer necessary.

Regulations in the 1970s changed the requirement for the width between slats to be the width of a soda can (2 3/8 inches), so babies can’t get their heads caught anymore.

I’ll admit that I used my husband’s crib with our grandchildren. It had no crib bumpers.

But, it was made when the slats were still close together.

We went through a period when manufacturers experimented with slats that were too far apart before new regulations specified a safe width.

And, while babies can maneuver themselves to put an arm or leg between the slats, they do not break their bones, as was once feared.

By contrast, crib bumpers can be dangerous.

It is far more likely that a baby will get its neck caught in the ties between the bumpers or strangle when caught between the bumpers and the mattress.

27 deaths of children from one month to two years were reported between 1985 and 2005 due to strangulation from getting caught between the bumper and mattress or caught in the ties between bumper pads.

On September 8, 2011, Chicago banned the sale of crib bumpers in the city.

In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which makes the recommendation about mattress and sheet only, says that one of their missions is to educate the media to show only pictures of baby cribs with no bumpers, blankets or stuffed animals.

This is part of educating the public.

You rarely see a picture of a baby sleeping on its stomach anymore, for example, because this was found to increase deaths from SIDS.

But, I Just Crocheted the Cutest Blanket for My New Grandchild

I crocheted a baby blanket for each grandchild and knit each of them a pair of booties.

This recommendation does not mean you don’t ever wrap the baby in a blanket.

You can wrap them in a blanket if you hold them on your lap.

You can spread out your beautiful blanket on the floor for tummy time.

You can tuck a blanket around them if you are taking them outside for a walk.

You can wrap them in a blanket if you are walking them at night to soothe them and sing to them.

But, when you put them back down in their crib, do not put the blanket in with them.

What If Their Bedroom Is Cold at Night?

A sleep sacque is fine. I used to have gowns that tied at the bottom that were very handy for changing diapers in the middle of the  night.

Now, they have sacques that zip across the bottom or across the front.

A blanket is not safe in the crib.

The majority of sleep-related infant deaths are due to pillows, quilts and extra bedding.

Window Blinds

I came in my toddler son’s bedroom one morning to find he had wrapped the window blind cord around his neck.

We moved the crib so he could no longer reach the blind cords and shortened the cords.

Further, mobiles hanging over a baby’s crib should be out of reach.

Boring is safe.

Get our “How to Leap the Generation Gap” Report for more tips on how recommendations for baby safety have changed.

Please rush my report to the Email address below!
First name:
Last name:
Email address:

Did you ever have any scary incidents when your children were babies that alerted you to how to provide a safer sleeping environment?

How do your grandbabies sleep?

Did you ever have this conversation with your grandchildren’s mother?


To you and helping your grandchildren sleep soundly and safely.

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers



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