nursery

Shortly after you put the adorable finishing touches on your little bundle of joy's room, you're going to want to childproof it from top to bottom (experts recommend doing this when you're still pregnant). Your baby will likely be spending many hours unsupervised in his nursery, so it's incredibly important that you've got all your safety basics covered.

Here's everything you need to know about childproofing your baby's nursery.

Danger Zone 1: The baby monitor. Despite their convenience, baby monitors, if used improperly, can be deadly. Since 2002, seven children have strangled due to entanglement in baby monitor cords. "I’ve seen monitors placed into the bassinet and crib or on the crib rail right next to baby, which is a strangulation risk," says Kimberlee Mitchell, child safety expert and founder of Boo Boo Busters, Inc. "Baby monitors should always be at least three feet away from baby's reach, and parents should use wire cover molding to conceal cords, regardless of where it is in the room."

Danger Zone 2: The crib. "One of the biggest mistakes parents make is filling their child's crib with accouterments," notes Mitchell. Yes, they're cute, but pillows, bumpers, and stuffed animals all pose suffocation risks to infants. If baby's room is chilly, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies wear warm sleepwear with feet in place of a blanket, so there aren't any loose objects in the crib. Crib slats shouldn't be more than 2 3/8 inches apart, as to prevent baby's body from getting caught between the bars. And cribs with drop sides are a big no-no. In 2010, manufacturers stopped making these types of cribs, as they had been blamed for the deaths of at least 32 babies. Do your homework: Make sure the crib hasn't been recalled; be sure that there are no broken parts or cracked slats; and ensure that it's been properly assembled. Invest in a tight-fitting mattress, so a baby cannot get trapped between the mattress and the crib. "Parents also may want to consider purchasing a special crib mattress that circulates air around baby," says Mitchell. "This helps prevent the 'rebreathing' of carbon dioxide, which is believed to be a leading cause of SIDS." Avoid cribs with cutouts in the headboard or footboard (baby's head could get stuck). Mitchell also recommends that you move your child to a toddler bed once the top of the crib rails are less than three-fourths of your child's height or they are 36 inches tall, since they can easily climb out.

Danger Zone 3: Windows. All windows in baby's nursery should be latched shut with locks or window guards, and blind and curtain cords should be wound up. Never leave your child unattended in her room with windows open if she is able to crawl or walk.

Danger Zone 4: Furniture. Bolt all furniture -- dressers, changing tables, shelving units -- to the wall, so they won't topple over on your child if he ever attempts to climb them, and be sure not to place heavy objects on shelves. Also, although they may look pretty, it's best not to hang pictures or objects on the wall above your baby's crib. (Hint: Paint his name on the wall instead of buying letters and hanging them.)

Danger Zone 5: Outlets. Your child will likely be spending a fair amount of unsupervised time in his room, so it's crucial that you use sliding outlet covers to hide all electrical outlets -- this is especially important for ones that are behind the crib.

Danger Zone 6: Mobiles. "When baby is almost sitting up, remove all mobiles and any type of canopy over the bed, as they can pose choking or strangulation hazards," says Mitchell.

Danger Zone 7: Doors. Until your child is able to open and close sliding closet doors, and regular doors, without pinching their fingers or slamming their hands, it's smart to invest in finger guards or a door mouse to avoid what could potentially be a big ouchie for your little one. You also might want to consider putting a gate outside of your child's room once he's been moved into a toddler bed. "You don't want your child walking around the house unsupervised during the night," notes Mitchell. "Use a gate and instruct child to call for you when he is awake in the morning."

Parents should also periodically inspect their child's room, checking for small objects everywhere -- in the crib, under furniture -- to avoid potential choking hazards.

Do you have any tips to add to babyproofing your child's nursery?

 

Images via Baby Mobiles by Butterfly Orbs/Corbis