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For most soon-to-be parents, buying a crib is a pivotal moment. From the minute an empty crib enters the house, parents long to see it filled. Since his crib is the place where your baby is most often left unsupervised, choose it carefully. Your baby needs a secure place to sleep and you need to have a safe place to put him when you absolutely have to leave him alone. Three basic types of cribs are available. Some cribs have stationary sides with an adjustable mattress while others have a stationary mattress with an adjustable side that slides up and down. Cribs with adjustable sides can be converted into a small couch once baby is finished with them by removing the sliding side and adding upholstered cushions. Padded mesh cribs offer a lighter, more portable solution, if you want to move the crib around the house. When shopping for a crib, there are a few essential things you should look for. The space between the crib bars should be no more than 5cm apart to prevent baby from getting stuck in between them. The mattress should fit tightly in the crib – check that there are no more than two finger-widths between the mattress and the side of the crib. Avoid cribs with posts that might snag baby’s clothes because these pose a serious strangling risk. If you choose a painted crib, ask what sort of paint was used for it and avoid lead-based paint. This is especially important if you use a second-hand crib because old paint tends to flake and chip and babies will eat anything. Carefully examine any decorative work to make sure it won’t pose a threat to your baby. Sharp corners or decorative cutouts can be dangerous. For a mesh crib, look for mesh with openings less than a half centimeter wide and check for tears or holes as the crib gets older – fingers, toes and buttons can get caught in wider holes. Also, check for bolts or protruding rivets. If the crib folds up, check the locking mechanism to make sure it won’t give under pressure. When choosing bedding, pass on the pillows. Babies don’t need them until they are a year old and they can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Teddy bears and other stuffed toys don’t belong in the crib either, because they increase the risk of SIDS and can act as a step up and out of the crib. Bumpers, the cushioned strips that line cribs, are nice because they prevent babies from getting bumped on the head, but they should fit securely, with ties at regular intervals. When baby starts to stand in the crib, he can use them as a step up and they might lead to him falling out of the crib. If you feel your child may have reached this stage, make sure to remove the bumpers from the bed to avoid any accidents. Finally, take a close look at the area around the crib to make sure that there are no electrical outlets in reach, curtain cords dangling into baby’s crib or shelves containing items that might fall on baby.