You just added the finishing touches to your nursery. Every detail from the faux fur rug to the breathable and antibacterial bamboo crib sheets are ready for baby’s arrival. But then you glance at the crib. It’s looking empty with just those sheets. What can you add to spruce it up and heighten that hygge feel?
The short answer is nothing. The crib should be bare according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. That means no crib bumpers, stuffed animals, pillows, blankets or toys.
The safest things to put in the crib are, of course, your baby and what your baby wears. Dress your baby in a well-fitted sleep sack (view sizing chart here) and give a paci if he or she takes one. Pacifier use has been found to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Other than that, crib accessories are a no-go. Even accessories and inserts that claim to prevent SIDS. In actuality, the best prevention is less intervention. Complete this crib safety checklist and, when baby finally makes his debut, lay him on his back and check back frequently.
But there are a few safe, even stylish, items that can go around (not inside) baby’s crib. These sleep-centered accessories will give you peace of mind and drum up that dreamy nursery feel.
- Crib Cam
The blessing of being a parent in the modern age is technology! Tech for babies has made it so simple to keep an eye on them anywhere, anytime. The best features to look for in a nursery camera are the following:
- Cordless; otherwise, anything with a cord needs to be placed 3 feet away from the crib
- Access the video from your smartphone
- Zoom in
- Communicate with baby
- Night Vision
- Wide-angle view
- Sound machine
- Sound alerts
- Environment alerts such as temperature, humidity, and air quality
Mobiles provide stimulation and entertainment to newborns. From music and motion to colors and lights, mobiles make the crib extra inviting when mommy or daddy steps away. Mobiles are appropriate for ages 0-4 months. At 5 months though, babies begin to push up on their arms, reach out and roll. All this extra movement could allow baby to grab the mobile, potentially causing a domino effect of disaster. Instead, remove the mobile from above the crib and replace it elsewhere in the nursery. In the meantime, decrease baby’s risk of choking and strangulation with these crib-mobile cautions:
- Keep strings 7 inches or shorter
- Check for detachable parts -- there shouldn’t be any!
- Install it 16 inches above the surface of the crib mattress. This is high enough that a newborn can’t grasp but close enough that a newborn can discern the objects.
- Check hardware often for loose or failing parts.
- Black and white images
Newborns can only see 8-12 inches away and they can only make out simple and bold vistas. For these reasons, babies respond best to contrasting patterns in black and white. These images help baby focus and concentrate. To encourage this visual development, many parents make their own black and white mobiles, but there are several safety precautions to follow to do this properly. You could also firmly attach printable black and white patterns, pictures or photos high on the rails or to the walls surrounding the crib. Make sure the images will not fall off for any reason, and never attach them at mattress height as this could pose a suffocation hazard.
- Crib skirt
Crib skirts are safe because they lay below the mattress and do not interfere with baby’s sleep. They are purely aesthetic and might be that final detail that refines your nursery.
- Rail covers
These come in handy months later when teething is in full effect. Unlike crib bumpers that are at mattress height, rail covers are placed higher over the top of bars of the crib. They will not impede a baby’s airways if he rolls near the bars because they are too high. These benefit both the crib and the baby. When teething takes over, rail covers protect baby from scraping off and swallowing any wood or paint mid-gnaw. In return, the covers prevent baby jaws from damaging the rail.
We know it’s tempting to add all the extras that make baby’s nursery even more welcoming, but it simply isn’t safe. These five crib-safe accessories keep objects clear of baby’s airways yet provide stimulation, comfort, and peace of mind to both mom and baby.