When introducing a new little one to the house, it's always fun to decorate their new bedroom, or nursery. Most of the fun comes from the shopping – seeing all the items available from furniture to clothing to wall hangings, and mixing and matching everything together to make a perfect whole.
However, attractiveness in a baby's room must take second place to safety. So before you buy – or make – anything, make sure you check for the latest safety guidelines. Using your common sense is of course the main thing, but sometimes issues arise that had not occurred to even the most devoted parent, so it's always a good thing to do some research and see what the latest studies say.
The crib Cribs manufactured after 1974 have to meet certain safety guidelines. For example: Do not use cribs with stylish or decorative cutouts – babies can get their heads or arms stuck, corner posts – babies can hit their heads, or lead paint.
The space between slats should be no more than two inches apart – again, to make sure the baby can not get its head, or arm, between them. The baby will grow quickly, so once it's able to stand and the rails of the crib are less than three-fourths the child's height, time to get a new crib.
The mattress fit is also important – do not use a mattress covered with plastic, and make sure the mattress fits into the crib snugly, and does not slide around. Do not have large pillows in the crib, either.
Convertible cribs Kids grow so fast that they'll grow out of their first crib and soon need another. There are "convertible" cribs on the market – cribs that change and adapt as your child grows. These can be expensive to start with, but as you will not need to buy a new bed every few months … they become economic in the long run. However, make sure you know what the crib looks like once its been "converted" to make sure you like the design!
Furniture and Decorations If you're on a budget, or even if you're not, many items for a baby's nursery can be bought second hand. You simply have to use common sense and caution when examining these materials to ensure that they're still sturdy, that nothing's loose – no splinters, etc.
There are many official sites on the web that talk about crib and nursery safety: the National Safety Council has a website, as does the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. (The US CPSC has webpages in Spanish as well as English.) The American Academy of Pediatrics also has safety tips on their website.
So, have fun with your decorating, and use some common sense. And common sense dictates that you check all available material and educate yourself on what's best for your new baby.