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Supplement to “Designing Kid Spaces”

When preparing a room as a nursery, it’s important to inspect all furniture, accessories, and the surroundings of the room itself carefully to ensure they will provide a safe environment for your new baby. Here are several tips to help you create a safe nursery:

• Check that the slats in your baby’s crib are no more than 2-3/8 inches apart. (If a soda can fits through the slats, the space between them is too big, and may pose an entrapment hazard.) New cribs should conform to this safety standard, but be sure to check if you’re using an older, hand-me-down crib. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also advises to check that the crib has no missing or broken parts, no corner posts over 1/16 inch high (to prevent clothing from catching, a strangulation risk), and no cut-out designs in the headboard or footboard (another entrapment risk).

• Be sure that the crib has a firm, tight-fitting mattress. You should only be able to put one finger between the mattress and the side rails. And position cribs away from electrical, telephone, and window blind cords, which can pose a strangulation risk.

• Keep loose bedding and stuffed toys out of your baby’s crib, and remove the crib’s bumper pads as soon as the child can pull up to a standing position. Remove crib gyms and mobiles when the baby can push up on hands and knees and before they can reach them.

• Keep small objects out of reach. Any item that can fit into the width of a cardboard toilet-paper roll can pose a choking hazard for small children.

• Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the home.

• Consider using angle braces or anchors to secure dressers, bookshelves, and other heavy furniture to the wall, so that children cannot topple the furniture over on themselves as they’re learning to pull up and walk.

• Remove the plastic end caps on baseboard doorstops (potential choking hazards), or replace them with stops that have a one-piece design.

• Position nightlights at least three feet away from the crib, bedding, and draperies to prevent fire risk.

• Block tiny fingers from getting into electrical outlets with plastic outlet covers.

• If you borrow or use older nursery products or toys, remember that you can check to make sure that they have not been recalled for safety hazards by calling the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s toll-free hotline at (800) 638-2772 or by checking their Web site at

Sources: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission,; Mayo Clinic,; Safety Council,; and

To read the Kentucky Living May 2006 feature that goes along with this supplement, click here: Designing Kid Spaces

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