Nursery Safety

From the beginning of a child's life, products such as cribs, high chairs, and other equipment must be selected with safety in mind. Care providers need to be aware of the many potential hazards occurring through misuse of products or with products that have not been well designed for use by children.


  • Slats not spaced more than 2-3/8 inches apart, and not loose, cracked, or missing
  • Mattress fits crib snugly
  • No pillows, bumpers, or fluffy comforters or objects in crib
  • All bolts, screws, and other hardware present and tightly attached to crib
  • Drop-side latches securely hold the side of crib in raised position
  • No cutouts in the headboard or footboard of crib
  • Corner posts no more than 1/16 inch higher than top rail edges
  • Babies put to sleep on their backs, not on their stomachs (to help prevent SIDS)

Crib Toys

  • No strings or cords dangling into the crib; crib gyms or mobiles removed when children can push up on hands and knees or when children are five months old
  • All parts of toys are too large to be a choking hazard

High Chairs

  • Crotch strap keeps children from sliding out of chair; restraining straps are independent from tray
  • Tray locks securely
  • Buckles on straps easy to fasten and unfasten
  • A wide base for stability
  • Caps or plugs on ends of tubing firmly attached to chair


  • The top rails lock automatically in the normal use position
  • No rotating hinge in the center of the top rails
  • Mesh playpen or crib with drop-side should never be left with the side down (suffocation hazard); mesh weave should be no more than 1/4 inch, with no loose threads or tears, and is securely attached to frame, top rail, and floorplate

Rattles, Squeeze Toys, and Teethers

  • Teething devices securely molded out of one piece of hard rubber or medium plastic, with no smaller pieces that can be dislodged and choke child
  • Handles too large to become lodged in baby's throat
  • Teething toys checked regularly and replaced if showing signs of disintegration
  • No detachable squeakers in squeeze toys (choking hazard

Changing tables

  • Safety straps to prevent baby from falling (but always keep your hand on baby)
  • Shelves or drawers easily accessible so that baby not left unattended
  • One hand kept on child on a high surface

Hook-on Chairs

  • Safety strap to secure child
  • Clamp that locks onto table for added security
  • Caps or plugs on ends of tubing firmly attached (choking hazard)
  • Chair never placed where child can push off with feet


  • No yarn, ribbon, or string attached (strangulation hazard)
  • Shield large enough so that it cannot fit into baby's mouth
  • Shield has ventilation holes so that baby can breathe if the shield does go into the mouth
  • Nipple free of holes or tears that could cause it to break off in baby's mouth (choking hazard)

Strollers and carriages

  • Wide base for stability
  • Seat belt and crotch strap attached securely to frame
  • Seat belt buckle easy to use
  • Brakes firmly lock wheels
  • Extra baskets or pockets are low on the back and located directly over or in front of rear wheels

Page last updated: Aug 26, 2013