Whether you are trying to set up that Pinterest perfect nursery or you are just trying to figure out how to fit a crib in your master bedroom alongside your other furniture, there are some big safety considerations to take into account when deciding where to place your crib. You’ve checked for power outlets, electrical chords, and possible climbing surfaces – but what about the window? Is it safe to put a crib in front of the window?
Windows pose a significant risk to babies and toddlers. Window falls and curtain cord related injuries are common in children under five. It is never a good idea to place a crib or bassinet in front of or near a window.
Continue reading to learn about the dangers windows pose to young children and to determine the best place to position your crib in the room.
Is it dangerous to put a crib or bassinet in front of a window?
Windows pose several different risks for babies and young children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not putting a crib or bassinet near a window. Let’s look at why.
Babies and toddlers can fall through windows. As your baby grows and learns to climb, he will no doubt become interested in looking outside and trying to get there if he can. This is especially dangerous if your baby’s room is not on the ground floor.
A screen will not prevent a child from falling through an open window and curious toddlers may figure out how to open a window themselves. In fact, more than 3,000 window fall-related injuries are reported each year in the United States for children under the age of 5. Keeping the crib and other climbing surfaces away from windows can help prevent such injuries from occurring.
Cords are also a strangulation hazard
Although newer window coverings often comply with voluntary safety standards to reduce the chance of strangulation, there is still a significant risk posed anytime a young child is able to reach and pull on cords from blinds and draperies.
Babies and toddlers can easily become entangled in long pull cords or even in the cords between the slats of horizontal blinds. Installing cord cleats to properly wrap the cords may prevent a child from reaching them from the floor. However, having a crib near the window may allow toddlers to reach and unwrap the cord.
If you have window coverings with cords anywhere in your home, be sure to keep climbable furniture away from them – particularly in any room where your child sleeps and you may not be watching at all times.
Blinds and curtain rods can fall on a child
No matter how well your curtain rod or blinds may be installed, the hardware is not designed to hold excessive weight. Nearly 50% of window blind related childhood injuries occurred when the child was hit by something falling on them. Children should not be permitted to pull or hang on window coverings. Keeping the crib away from the windows should help prevent them from trying.
Long curtains pose a suffocation risk. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be put to sleep without any soft objects or bedding so as to prevent suffocation. While curtains are not bedding and do not hang inside the crib, if the crib is near enough to the window, a young child may pull the curtain into the crib, creating a hazard.
Can a crib be against a wall?
You will likely find that the most convenient place to put your baby’s crib is against a wall. For the most part, this is perfectly safe so long as you check to make sure there are no other hazards nearby. Some hazards to consider are:
- Power outlets: All outlets in the room should be covered or use safe plates.
- Cords and draperies: Crib should be at least a foot away from any windows.
- Heavy wall decor or shelves: All decor in the nursery should be hung with proper hardware and checked regularly to make sure it has not come loose. The best practice is to not hang anything heavy above the crib just in case it does fall.
- Other furniture: crib should be at least one foot from other furniture to prevent a child from reaching items or becoming trapped between them once they start climbing*
*Some sources recommend placing the crib a foot away from the wall as well, to prevent children from becoming trapped between the crib and the wall if they climb out. If you have a high-backed crib and the crib is not in a corner, this should not be much of a problem but it is something to consider as your child gets older.
Should you hang things above the crib?
As mentioned above, heavy shelves and other decors should not be hung above a crib. Even well-mounted items have some risk of falling, especially once a toddler grows tall enough to pull or hang on it. Items on shelves can also fall into cribs, posing various hazards.
Other items to avoid hanging over a crib include:
- Decorative drapes: They may look cute on Pinterest but they pose a suffocation risk if the baby pulls them into the crib.
- Crib gyms: These can fall or be pulled down on top of a baby. Many have strings or straps that can pose a strangulation hazard.
- Picture frames with glass: If they fall the glass can break and seriously injure a baby.
Some things that are okay to hang above a crib include:
- A crib mobile: Securely attached to crib rail, wall, or ceiling and out of baby’s reach. Mobiles should be removed as soon as the baby starts sitting up or by five months.
- Simple wall art or picture frames without glass: So long as they are not too heavy and are hung well out of baby’s reach, some paintings or pictures of the family may be visually appealing for both you and your baby. Make sure any wall art is properly hung and consider pulling the crib a few inches from the wall so that if they do fall, they fall behind, and not into, the crib.
- A wall decal or mural: This is probably the safest option for decorating above the crib. You can find decals to match just about any nursery theme you can think of and they usually aren’t very expensive. You can hire someone to paint a mural or do it yourself if you’re feeling artsy
Where should a crib be placed in a room?
Finding the perfect place to set up your crib may not be easy, especially if you are trying to avoid hazards such as windows and outlets. Here are a few great options to consider:
Next to the door
Having the crib next to the door means you won’t have to stumble around and potentially trip over other furniture to get to your baby in the middle of the night. It also means your baby is close and easy to get to in case of an emergency.
Diagonally in a corner
This works especially well with bassinets but is also an option for your crib. Setting your crib diagonally to the corner keeps the sides away from walls, especially helpful if you have a lot of outlets or windows. And you can access both sides of the crib in case your baby decides to roll just out of reach.
You can also take advantage of the corner space for some extra storage or install a few, small, high, corner shelves (that don’t hang over the crib) to hold things like a baby monitor or a cool mist humidifier.
In the middle of the room
Not only does this trendy crib placement make your baby the focal point of the room, but it also keeps him safe from any potential hazards. You don’t have to worry about windows or outlets and you can decorate to your heart’s content. It also allows you to consider some fun, round or oval-shaped cribs.