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 Stackable Cribs

Use of stackable cribs (i.e., cribs that are built in a manner that there are two or three cribs above each other that do not touch the ground floor) in facilities is not advised. In older facilities, where these cribs are already built into the structure of the facility, staff should develop a plan for phasing out the use of these cribs.

If stackable cribs are used, they must meet the current Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) federal standard for non-full-size cribs, 16 CFR 1220. In addition they should be three feet apart and staff placing or removing a child from a crib that cannot reach from standing on the floor, should use a stable climbing device such as a permanent ladder rather than climbing on a stool or chair. Infants who are able to sit, pull themselves up, etc. should not be placed in stackable cribs.

Stackable cribs are designed to save space by having one crib built on top of another. Although they may be practical from the standpoint of saving space, infants on the top level of stackable cribs will be positioned at a height that will be several feet from the floor. Infants who fall from several feet or more can have an intracranial hemorrhage (i.e., serious bleed inside of the skull). While no injury reports have been filed, there is a potential for injury as a result of either latch malfunction or a caregiver/teacher who slips or falls while placing or removing a child from a crib. It is best practice to place an infant to sleep in a safe sleep environment (safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and a tight-fitting sheet) at a level that is close to the floor.

A minimum distance of three feet between cribs is required because respiratory infections are transmitted by large droplets of respiratory secretions, which usually are limited to a range of less than three feet from the infected person (1,2).

Young children placed to sleep in stackable cribs may have difficulties falling asleep because they may not be used to sleeping in this type of equipment. In addition, requiring staff to use stackable cribs may cause them concern and fear regarding their liability if an injury occurs.

Many state child care licensing regulations prohibit the use of stackable cribs. If stackable cribs are not prohibited in the caregiver’s/teacher’s state and they are used, parents/guardians should be informed and extreme care should be taken to ensure that no infant falls from the higher level cribs due to the potential for injury. Any injury that is suspected to be related to the use of stackable cribs should be reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) at 1-800-638-2772 or
Center, Early Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Sleeping Equipment and Supplies Cribs
  1. Kimberlin, D.W., Brady, M.T., Jackson, M.A., Long, S.S., eds. 2015. Red book: 2015 report to the committee of infectious diseases. 30th Ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics. 
  2. Aronson, S. S., T. R. Shope, eds. 2017. Managing infectious diseases in child care and schools: A quick reference guide, 4th Edition. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.