You should not put any soft toys, crib bumpers, or blankets in your baby’s crib. Most specialists recommend against especially when the baby is still below 12 months.
They pose a suffocation or strangulation risk. You have to consider your baby’s safety before anything else.
When they are starting to roll over, ensure the crib is free of anything. Beddings and stuffed animals increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
It might seem unlikely that your baby’s favorite stuffed animal would suffocate them, but it’s a possibility. There is no need to take unnecessary chances.
Toys in a Crib: Should You Do It?
Why You Must Keep the Baby’s Crib Toy Free
Parents see toys in the crib as a way of entertaining the kids; it gives them something to do when they wake up.
The concern, however, is whether the toys are safe to stay there when the baby is asleep. To reduce the risk of SIDS, you have to refrain from putting soft toys in the crib.
You don’t want toys that cover your baby’s face or have any ribbons that can be plucked away at 3 am when you are fast asleep.
The risk of suffocation outweighs the benefits of putting the toy where your baby naps. When babies grow, they are more likely to explore their sleeping environment, unlike when they were younger.
They might even find comfort and connection with the toys. But anything can happen, and that’s why most people are against the idea.
Also, you don’t want to turn your baby’s crib into a playground. The toys can either be consoling or a distraction.
If they are playing with the toy, they aren’t sleeping. However, if you must keep toys in the crib, ensure the toys you leave with the baby are safe.
They should not cover their face and shouldn’t have any buttons or ribbons. Putting toys in the crib will force you to monitor the baby most of the time.
Minimalism is the best approach for the baby’s sleeping place. Find items that are a perfect compromise and encourage a blissful night’s sleep.
An uncluttered environment is the safest place for your young one. It’s worth educating yourself about safe sleeping for babies; it’s a great way to learn the dos and don’ts.
What Can I put in Baby’s Crib?
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that the crib should be bare.
There shouldn’t be anything soft in the sleeping environment, which goes for pillows, blankets, comforters, bumper pads and stuffed animals.
The only thing you can put there is a tight-fitted sheet. You can let your baby have a pacifier that doesn’t have attachments.
Most parents are concerned about keeping the baby warm when they find out they can’t keep blankets in the crib. You can keep the baby warm with a sleeper onesie or wearable blankets.
Remember, don’t put so many layers on the baby because it can lead to overheating. Stick to the wearable blankets even during the winter months.
But that shouldn’t discourage you from having toys as part of the bedtime ritual. Toys can be helpful when you are trying to get your baby to sleep.
If the toy is too active or big for bedtime snuggles, let the baby have it and then take it away once they start falling asleep.
When Can I Start Putting Toys In The Crib?
After 12 months, it’s okay to bring some special toys in the crib. That is because a 12-month baby can sit up, rollover, and even move toys and other items from their face.
But you should still keep the crib relatively empty. Don’t add any pillows just yet. Be careful with the toy you put in the cot because not all toys are great.
There is nothing wrong with a bit of entertainment to help the baby wind down before sleeping.
Pick toys that promote sleep rather than stimulate. You don’t want the kid to play when they are supposed to be slumbering.
Picking safe toys is a task at times, but it’s worth it. If it has small parts, your one-year-old will break them.
Toys that are too big can also be hazardous. The toy needs to be lightweight so that the toddler can move it if it falls.
Most manufacturers indicate the recommended age on the package. Ensure you check before buying.
Toys collect dust easily, so ensure you keep them clean. When they are dusty, the toddler might have slight trouble breathing, especially asthmatic toddlers.
Most pediatrics and other experts recommend waiting for the second birthday to introduce soft materials like blankets and other beddings.
But always do everything in moderation; too much of anything can be problematic.
Is It Safe To Hang Toys From The Crib?
Once you pick a theme and decorations for the nursery, the next thing is usually crib mobiles. Hang the mobile high enough so that the baby can’t reach it.
There is a lot of debate on whether the mobiles are safe or not. Parents who like mobiles argue that they entertain the kid when they wake up at night.
That means they will wait for you patiently. Some might be distracted enough and even not call for you at all.
Others argue that the mobiles can make the baby confuse the crib for a place to play which distracts them from sleeping.
It all comes down to your baby’s personality; if you notice the mobiles keep the baby entertained, you can keep them.
Whatever you decide, ensure they are securely attached to the crib or the ceiling. You don’t want anything falling on your baby when they are asleep.
Ensure you buy mobiles that meet the safety standards.
Be careful when the baby is five months or when they start sitting. That’s when they start getting closer to the mobiles and grabbing them.
When this happens, you should move the mobiles higher. As the baby becomes more curious and adventurous, anything within their reach can pose a risk.
The same goes for other things attached to the side of the crib.
There are video cameras that promise parents a close-up look of their sleeping baby.
While it may sound tempting to get the camera and capture every little moment, be careful at what you hang on the baby’s bed.
There is no need for additional hanging items in the nursery; mobiles are enough. Minimizing distractions in bed will help you develop a great sleeping routine and habits.
Must-Know Tips for Toy Safety
To protect your baby from suffocating or choking, there are a few guidelines and measures you need to know.
Many companies make toys with safety in mind, but that doesn’t mean that all toys are safe. Even if you want to, you can’t escape toys.
Kids use them for companionship, and they are great during playtime. So here are some tips you need to keep in mind.
1. Always Buy Age-Appropriate Toys
All toys are age-graded for safety; read the instructions and warnings on the packaging before purchase.
A two-year old toy is not safe for your baby who just turned eight months. It might be too big for them and increase choking and suffocation risks.
If there is no age recommendation on it, it’s best to avoid it. You must get something your child will understand how to play with.
If you are shopping for more than one child, always separate the toys. Keep the ones meant for older kids away from the toddlers.
You can introduce them to different toys as they grow but always within their age range. Younger kids always like to play with older kids’ toys.
Always be on the lookout to avoid accidents.
2. Choose Sturdy Toys
Kids love to pull and yank toys apart, especially when they are below one year. Ensure the toys don’t have any moving or loose parts because they can quickly come off.
A sturdy design will not fall apart easily, even if the baby gets a little rough. It also stays longer and saves you from buying another toy.
Rigid or sharp pints are dangerous. Wooden toys with chipped paint are not the best choice. They contain lead which is not suitable for the kids.
For toddlers and babies, any item that fits into a toilet paper roll is a big no.
You should reconsider if the toy is stuffed with pellets or beans. If your baby gets their hand on even one pellet, you know it’s going to be a problem.
Most of the toys you buy will end up in the baby’s mouth. That is something to think about always when you are toy shopping.
However, even if you believe you have found the safest toy avoid putting it in the crib for the first 12 months.
3. Check Toys For Damages Often
Buying the toy is not the end; you still have to inspect them regularly for damages. If the damages cannot be fixed, throw them away.
As you know, babies playing with damaged toys is a potential disaster. The big kids can tell you when the toy is broken, but toddlers rely on you entirely.
How you store the toys play a great role in longevity. Find a conducive toy chest to prevent premature breakages.
Always check to see if the toys are recalled. Manufacturers recall their products when they are not safe or durable.
Checking the background history for every toy seems extreme. But it’s better than buying a recalled product that might harm your child.
4. Check If The Toy Has Sound
Most companies put sound in toys because toddlers and babies love them. But it’s great to check if the sounds will frighten or sooth the baby.
Sound can create a wholesome experience during playtime. But if the sounds disturb the baby, they will be distressed every time you take out the toy to play.
If they are electric, buy the ones that are UL-approved.
Never allow your kids to play with toys that have frayed cords; it might burn or shock them.
While checking for sound, check to see if they shoot anything. Even the simplest version that shoots light objects can cause eye and other injuries.
Older kids are more capable of handling such toys. But if you allow them to use toys to shoot objects, have them wear safety glasses.
Such toys usually have guidelines and safety precautions attached to the package.
5. Buy Washable Toys
If you can’t wash it, then you can’t keep it clean. The fabric or any other material should be easy to clean.
Some stuffed animals are washing machine-safely while others are not. A neat toy is even more essential if the toddler sleeps with it in the crib.
They put everything in their mouth; a dirty toy can pass germs to them.
You can get them all in one place and disinfect them if you don’t want to wash the toys. Once you figure out the washability of the product, you can concentrate on other things.
You can never know from the beginning what your baby likes. It will be trial and error until you find a toy she enjoys playing with.
On whether there need to be toys in the crib, you should avoid toys and other soft materials. Experts recommend having a plain bed for the first year.
Find different ways to keep the baby warm, like using wearable blankets. Toys increase the chances of SIDS; that’s why most people are against it.
You can introduce a stuffed animal when they are one year old. At least they can sit, rollover, and remove anything from their face at that stage.
Ask for help if you don’t know which toys are safe.