From the beginning of a child's life, products, such as cribs, high chairs and other equipment intended for a child must be selected with safety in mind. Parents and caretakers of babies and young children need to be aware of the many potential hazards in their environment - hazards occurring through misuse of products or those involved with products that have not been well designed for use by children.
This checklist is a safety guide to help you when buying new or secondhand nursery equipment. It also can be used when checking over nursery equipment now in use in your home or in other facilities that car for infants and young children.
Ask yourself: does the equipment have the safety features in this checklist? If not, can missing or unsafe parts be easily replaced with the proper parts? Can breaks or cracks be repaired to give more safety? Can I fix the older equipment without creating a "new" hazard?
If most of your answers are "NO," the equipment is beyond help and should be discarded. If the equipment can be repaired, do the repairs before you allow any child to use it.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission's concern is that the children in your care have a safe environment in which to grow.
|1. Carrier has restraining strap to secure child.||___||___|
|2. Leg openings are small enough to prevent child from slipping out.||___||___|
|3. Leg openings are large enough to prevent chafing.||___||___|
|4. Frames have no pinch points in the folding mechanism.||___||___|
|5. Carrier has padded covering over metal frame near baby's face.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Do not use until baby is 4 or 5 months old. By then baby's neck is able to withstand jolts and not sustain an injury.
|Bassinets and Cradles||YES||NO|
|1. Bassinet/Cradle has a sturdy bottom and a wide base for stability.||___||___|
|2. Bassinet/Cradle has smooth surfaces - no protruding staples or other hardware that injure the baby.||___||___|
|3. Legs have strong, effective locks to prevent folding while in use.||___||___|
|4. Mattress is firm and fits snugly.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Follow manufacturer's guidelines on weight and size of baby who can safely use these products.
|Baby Bath Rings or Seats||YES||NO|
|1. Suction cups securely fastened to product.||___||___|
|2. Suction cups securely attached to SMOOTH SURFACE of tub.||___||___|
|3. Tub filled only with enough water to cover baby's legs||___||___|
|4. Baby NEVER left alone or with a sibling while in bath ring, even for a moment!||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: NEVER leave a baby unattended or with a sibling in a tub of water. Do not rely on a bath ring to keep your baby safe.
|1. Carrier seat has a wide sturdy base for stability.||___||___|
|2. Carrier has non-skid feet to prevent slipping.||___||___|
|3. Supporting devices lock securely.||___||___|
|4. Carrier seat has crotch and waist strap.||___||___|
|5. Buckle or strap is easy to use.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Never use the carrier as a car seat.
|1. Table has safety straps to prevent falls.||___||___|
|2. Table has drawer or shelves that are easily accessible without leaving the baby unattended.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Do not leave baby on the table unattended. Always use the straps to prevent the baby from falling.
|1. Slats are spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches (60 mm) apart.||___||___|
|2. No slats are missing or cracked.||___||___|
|3. Mattress fits snugly--less than two finger width between edge or mattress and crib side.||___||___|
|4. Mattress support is securely attached to the head and footboards.||___||___|
|5. Corner posts are no higher than 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) to prevent entanglement of clothing or other objects worn by child.||___||___|
|6. No cutouts in the head and footboards which allow head entrapment.||___||___|
|7. Drop-side latches cannot be easily released by baby.||___||___|
|8. Drop-side latches securely hold sides in raised position.||___||___|
|9. All screws or bolts which secure components of crib are present and tight.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Do not place crib near draperies or blinds where child could become entangled and strangle on the cords. When the child reaches 35 inches in height or can climb and/or fall over the sides, the crib should be replaced with a bed.
|1. No strings with loops or openings having perimeters greater than 14 inches (356 mm).||___||___|
|2. No strings or cords longer than 7 inches (178 mm) should dangle into the crib.||___||___|
|3. Crib gym has label warning to remove from crib when child can push up on hands and knees or reaches 5 months of age, whichever comes first.||___||___|
|4. Components of toys are not small enough to be a choking hazard.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Avoid hanging toys across the crib or on crib corner posts with strings long enough to result in strangulation. Remove crib gyms when child is able to pull or push up on hands and knees.
|Gates and Enclosures||YES||NO|
|1. Openings in gate are too small to entrap a child's head.||___||___|
|2. Gate has a pressure bar or other fastener that will resist forces exerted by a child.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: To avoid head entrapment, do not use accordion-style gates or expandable enclosures with large v-shaped openings along the top edge, or diamond-shaped openings within.
|1. High chair has waist and crotch restraining straps that are independent of the tray.||___||___|
|2. Tray locks securely.||___||___|
|3. Buckle on waist strap is easy to use.||___||___|
|4. High chair has a wide stable base.||___||___|
|5. Caps or plugs on tubing are firmly attached and cannot be pulled off and choke a child.||___||___|
|6. If it is a folding high chair, it has an effective locking device to keep the chair from collapsing.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Always use restraining straps; otherwise child can slide under the tray and strangle.
|1. Chair has a restraining strap to secure the child.||___||___|
|2. Chair has a clamp that locks onto the table for added security.||___||___|
|3. Caps or plugs on tubing are firmly attached and cannot be pulled off and choke a child.||___||___|
|4. Hook-on chair has a warning never to place the chair where the child can push off with feet.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Don't leave a child unattended in a hook-on chair.
|1. No ribbon, string, cord or yarn attached to pacifier.||___||___|
|2. Shield is large enough and firm enough to not fit in child's mouth.||___||___|
|3. Guard or shield has ventilation holes so the baby can breath if the shield does get into the mouth.||___||___|
|4. Pacifier nipple has no holes or tears that might cause it to break off in baby's mouth.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: To prevent strangulation, never hang pacifier or other items on a string around a baby's neck.
|1. Drop-side mesh playpen or crib has label warning never to leave side in the down position.||___||___|
|2. Mesh has small weave (less than 1/4 inch openings).||___||___|
|3. Mesh has no tears, holes or loose threads.||___||___|
|4. Mesh is securely attached to top rail and floorplate.||___||___|
|5. Top rail cover has no tears or holes.||___||___|
|6. Wooden playpen has slats spaced no more than 2 inches (60 mm) apart.||___||___|
|7. If staples are used in construction, they are firmly installed and none are missing or loose.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Never leave an infant in a mesh playpen or crib with the drop-side down. Even a very young infant can roll into the space between the mattress and loose mesh side and suffocate.
|Rattles, Squeeze Toys, Teethers||YES||NO|
|1. Rattles, squeeze toys and teethers are too large to lodge in a baby's throat.||___||___|
|2. Rattles are of sturdy construction that will not break apart in use.||___||___|
|3. Squeeze toys do not contain a squeaker that could detach and choke a baby.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Take rattles, squeeze toys, teethers and other toys out of the crib or playpen when the baby sleeps to prevent suffocation.
|Strollers & Carriages||YES||NO|
|1. Wide base to prevent tipping.||___||___|
|2. Seat belt and crotch strap securely attached to frame.||___||___|
|3. Seat belt buckle is easy to use.||___||___|
|4. Brakes securely lock the wheel(s).||___||___|
|5. Shopping basket is low on the back and directly over or in front of rear wheels for stability.||___||___|
|6. When used in carriage position, leg hold openings can be closed.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Always secure the seat belts. Never leave a child unattended in a stroller. Keep children's hands away from pinching areas when stroller is being folded or unfolded or the seat back is being reclined.
|1. No lid latch which could entrap child within the chest.||___||___|
|2. Hinged lid has a spring-loaded lid support that will support the lid in any position and will not require periodic adjustment.||___||___|
|3. Chest has ventilation holes or spaces in front or sides, or under the lid should a child get inside.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: If you already own a toy chest or trunk with a freely falling lid, remove the lid to avoid a head injury to a small child, or install a spring-loaded lid support.
|1. Wide wheel base for stability.||___||___|
|2. Covers over coil springs to avoid finger pinching.||___||___|
|3. Seat is securely attached to frame or walker.||___||___|
|4. No x-frames that could pinch or amputate fingers.||___||___|
THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDS: Place gates or guards at top of all stairways, or keep stairway doors closed to prevent falls. Do not use walker as baby sitters.
For more nursery equipment information write for a free copy of The Safe Nursery, A Buyer's Guide, Office of Information and Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., 20207 or you can get in the publications section of this web site on children's safety.