Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.4 Space and Equipment in Designated Areas

5.4.5 Sleep and Rest Areas Cribs

Facilities should check each crib before its purchase and use to ensure that it is in compliance with the current U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and ASTM safety standards.

Recalled or “second-hand” cribs should not be used or stored in the facility. When it is determined that a crib is no longer safe for use in the facility, it should be dismantled and disposed of appropriately.

Staff should only use cribs for sleep purposes and should ensure that each crib is a safe sleep environment. No child of any age should be placed in a crib for a time-out or for disciplinary reasons. When an infant becomes large enough or mobile enough to reach crib latches or potentially climb out of a crib, they should be transitioned to a different sleeping environment (such as a cot or sleeping mat).

Each crib should be identified by brand, type, and/or product number and relevant product information should be kept on file (with the same identification information) as long as the crib is used or stored in the facility.

Staff should inspect each crib before each use to ensure that hardware is tightened and that there are not any safety hazards. If a screw or bolt cannot be tightened securely, or there are missing or broken screws, bolts, or mattress support hangers, the crib should not be used.

Safety standards document that cribs used in facilities should be made of wood, metal, or plastic. Crib slats should be spaced no more than two and three-eighths inches apart, with a firm mattress that is fitted so that no more than two fingers can fit between the mattress and the crib side in the lowest position. The minimum height from the top of the mattress to the top of the crib rail should be twenty inches in the highest position. Cribs with drop sides should not be used. The crib should not have corner post extensions (over one-sixteenth inch). The crib should have no cutout openings in the head board or footboard structure in which a child’s head could become entrapped. The mattress support system should not be easily dislodged from any point of the crib by an upward force from underneath the crib. All cribs should meet the ASTM F1169-10a Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Full-Size Baby Cribs, F406-10b Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Non-Full-Size Baby Cribs/Play Yards, or the CPSC 16 CFR 1219, 1220, and 1500 – Safety Standards for Full-Size Baby Cribs and Non-Full-Size Baby Cribs; Final Rule.

Cribs should be placed away from window blinds or draperies.

As soon as a child can stand up, the mattress should be adjusted to its lowest position. Once a child can climb out of his/her crib, the child should be moved to a bed. Children should never be kept in their crib by placing, tying, or wedging various fabric, mesh, or other strong coverings over the top of the crib.

Cribs intended for evacuation purpose should be of a design and have wheels that are suitable for carrying up to five non-ambulatory children less than two years of age to a designated evacuation area. This crib should be used for evacuation in the event of fire or other emergency. The crib should be easily moveable and should be able to fit through the designated fire exit.

Standards have been developed to define crib safety, and staff should make sure that cribs used in the facility meet these standards to protect children and prevent injuries or death (1-3). Significant changes to the ATSM and CPSC standards for cribs were published in December 2010. As of June 28, 2011 all cribs being manufactured, sold or leased must meet the new stringent requirements. Effective December 28, 2012 all cribs being used in early care and education facilities including family child care homes must also meet these standards. For the most current information about these new standards please go to

More infants die every year in incidents involving cribs than with any other nursery product (4). Children have become trapped or have strangled because their head or neck became caught in a gap between slats that was too wide or between the mattress and crib side.

An infant can suffocate if its head or body becomes wedged between the mattress and the crib sides (6).

Corner posts present a potential for clothing entanglement and strangulation (5). Asphyxial crib deaths from wedging the head or neck in parts of the crib and hanging by a necklace or clothing over a corner post have been well-documented (6).

Children who are thirty-five inches or taller in height have outgrown a crib and should not use a crib for sleeping (4). Turning a crib into a cage (covering over the crib) is not a safe solution for the problems caused by children climbing out. Children have died trying to escape their modified cribs by getting caught in the covering in various ways and firefighters trying to rescue children from burning homes have been slowed down by the crib covering (6).

CPSC has received numerous reports of strangulation deaths on window blind cords over the years (7).

 For more information on articles in cribs, see Standard Sleeping Equipment and Supplies and Standard Crib Toys.

A “safety-approved crib” is one that has been certified by the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA).

If portable cribs and those that are not full-size are substituted for regular full-sized cribs, they must be maintained in the condition that meets the ASTM F406-10b Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Non-Full-Size Baby Cribs/Play Yards. Portable cribs are designed so they may be folded or collapsed, with or without disassembly. Although portable cribs are not designed to withstand the wear and tear of normal full-sized cribs, they may provide more flexibility for programs that vary the number of infants in care from time to time.

Cribs designed to be used as evacuation cribs, can be used to evacuate infants, if rolling is possible on the evacuation route(s).

To keep window blind cords out of the reach of children, staff can use tie-down devices or take the cord loop and cut it in half to make two separate cords. Consumers can call 1-800-506-4636begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-506-4636 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or visit the Window Covering Safety Council Website at to receive a free repair kit for each set of blinds.

Center, Early Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Safe Sleep Practices and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)/SIDS Risk Reduction Sleeping Equipment and Supplies Stackable Cribs Crib Toys
  1. ASTM International. 2010. ASTM F1169-10a: Standard consumer safety specification for full-size baby cribs. West Conshohocken, PA: ASTM.
  2. ASTM International. 2010. ASTM F406-10b: Standard consumer safety specification for non-full-size baby cribs/play yards. West Conshohocken, PA: ASTM.
  3. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 2010. Safety standards for full-size baby cribs and non-full-size baby cribs; final rule. 16 CFR 1219, 1220, and 1500.
  4. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 1997. The safe nursery. Washington, DC: CPSC.
  5. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 1996. CPSC warns parents about infant strangulations caused by failure of crib hardware.
  6. Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. 2007. Safe and sound for baby: A guide to juvenile product safety, use, and selection. 9th ed. Moorestown, NJ: JPMA.
  7. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Are your window coverings safe?