It is of paramount importance to have a safe nursery. Sweet bedding and cool furniture are delightful, but savvy parents need to think beyond decor. My friend Courtney of Baby Bodyguards put together this checklist for a safe nursery:
o Cribs should have slats that are no more than 2 3/8 inches part (which is too small for your baby to get her arms or legs stuck).
o Keep the crib free of comforters, pillows, and stuffed animals which are a suffocation risk.
o To prevent suffocation, never allow a gap larger than two finger widths at any point between the sides of the crib and the mattress
o Keep the crib away from window blinds and shades. The pulls can be a strangulation risk.
o Keep Baby Monitors and other cords a safe distance from the crib.
o Hanging crib toys, like Mobiles, need to be high enough that your baby can't grab them. They're a strangulation risk if they're in reach.
o Crib Bumper Pads need to be removed from the crib once a baby can pull into a standing position, to ensure the bumper won't be used as a step.
o Cover the outlets before your baby is on the move. That way you won't be scrambling when she decides it's time to crawl. (editor's note--stay tuned for an upcoming contest!)
o Anchor unstable furniture (consider Furniture Brackets), including dressers and bookcases.
o Keep your hand on your baby at all times during diaper changes. Babies learn to roll over in the blink of an eye, and it only takes one distracted second for baby to fall.
o Keep all things needed for a diaper change (diaper, wipes, powder) within easy reach, so you can always keep one hand on your baby during diaper changes.
o Install a Smoke Alarm/detector in your baby's room.
o Install finger Pinch Guards on doors or drape a towel over the hinge side to prevent painful pinching injuries and to prevent child from locking himself in the room. (editor's note: practice unlocking the door from the outside before it happens)
o While it won't matter until your baby is a toddler, make sure windows are safe now by installing childproof Window Locks or guards before you need them.
o Use only safety nightlight styles that prevent children from pulling out the night light or gaining access to the bulb. Use the recommended wattage for the bulb and keep night lights at least three feet from bedding and other combustible materials.
o All pictures should be secured out of reach. Don't hang pictures or other heavy decorations directly over a crib.
o Be sure to hide electrical cords behind furniture, so the baby can't yank on them and cause the appliance/lamp to come tumbling down.
Based in Brooklyn, Baby Bodyguards will do in-home consultations and also holds Car Seat Installation Classes. Check out their website for more information.