This is your comprehensive guide to choosing the safest crib sheets so that your child can sleep peacefully.
Your vision of the nursery’s centerpiece may be a crib covered in adorable baby bedding, but that design does not adhere to the latest safety regulations for preventing suffocation and SIDS. A fitted sheet over a firm crib mattress, without any other bedding or soft items in the crib, provides the safest sleeping environment.
Before buying or registering for a baby crib, parents can take a number of measures to make sure their child is sleeping in the safest environment possible.
What is Safe for Crib Bedding Sets?
The crib sheets must fit snugly over the mattress. It is likely that sheets that have not been pre-washed by the manufacturer will shrink. Those with elastic that only covers a portion of the sheet’s edge as opposed to the entire edge may also struggle to stay in place.
To prevent this, look for sheets that have elastic the whole way around the sheet, not just at the corners. Although they might be slightly wrinkled when they emerge from the dryer, 100% cotton sheets will maintain their quality the best after numerous washings. Look for cotton blend sheets with a higher proportion of cotton if that bothers you.
Test out your crib bedding. The manufacturer’s instructions call for multiple washings of the items. Return them to the store if, despite numerous washings, they still require some effort to stay on.
Finally, you can check out special crib sheets designed specifically with safety in mind. Some of these sheets simply slide onto the mattress like a pillowcase, while others have an original mechanism that fastens the sheet to the mattress.
Baby Crib Safety Must
If you’re unsure of how to choose a crib, start by looking for stability and safety, and then prioritize style!
You can learn more about the importance of non-toxic materials, mattress height adjustability, crib durability (and sustainability), and other topics here.
Baby Crib Safety Must: Room-Sharing
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies spend at least six months sleeping in the same room as their parents. This is due to the fact that having your baby’s crib in your bedroom and close to (but not in) your bed can reduce the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%.
However, due to the large footprint of cribs, many parents choose to place their newborn for the first few months of life in a bassinet like SNOO. (SNOO has the added bonus of a special swaddle that attaches to SNOO to keep babies on their backs and calming all-night white noise and continuous rocking to help everyone sleep!)
Baby Crib Safety Must: Mattress Fit
Not all crib mattresses are made equal! To start with, make sure your choice is solid and the right fit. While all full-size crib mattresses must be at least 27-1/4 inches by 51-1/4 inches—and no thicker than 6 inches—there’s still an acceptable range of mattress dimensions.
This indicates that some mattresses might leave a little extra space between the mattress and the crib. Insert your fingers between the mattress and the crib to ensure a good fit. If only two fingers or fewer fit, the pairing is secure.
Baby Crib Safety Must: Proper Crib Bedding
Only a fitted crib sheet is required for your lovely crib’s baby bedding. That’s it! No crib bumpers (which have been recalled for suffocation and entrapment risks), no pillows (so-called “head-shaping” or otherwise), and no loose blankets or quilts.
Concerned about your infant getting cold? Simply wrap them in a swaddle blanket, and once they show signs of rolling, dress them in a wearable blanket for sleep. To make sure your baby’s fitted crib sheet is safe:
- Verify that the crib sheet is a tight fit for the mattress.
- To prevent the fitted sheet from snapping up and posing a suffocation hazard, it must be tucked under the mattress.
- On a crib mattress, never use an adult sheet.
- 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton crib sheets that are permeable will keep the baby comfortable and cool.
Baby Crib Safety Must: Smart Mattress-Height Adjustment
To prevent your baby from flying out of the crib and onto the floor, the majority of cribs today have mattress height adjustments that let you gradually lower the mattress as your child grows. Knowing when to lower your baby’s crib mattress is obviously crucial. Here are some stay-safe rules:
- Highest Crib Setting: This height is ideal for newborns because they are still largely immobile.
- Middle Crib Settings: It’s time to lower the height of the crib mattress one more degree just before your baby masters learning to sit up by themselves. (If your crib, like the Lola crib, has four different mattress height settings, you can lower it one more position before reaching the lowest setting, which will make getting your child out of the crib easier for a longer period of time.)
- Lowest Crib Setting: Set your baby’s crib mattress height to the lowest position once they are able to pull themselves up to stand.
- Convert to Toddler Bed: When your child has climbed out of the crib, when they are about 3 feet tall, or when the height of the side rail is less than three-quarters of your child’s height (which is about nipple level), it’s time to break out the crib conversion kit and convert your baby’s crib into a toddler bed.
Baby Crib Safety Must: Keep It Empty
Beyond preventing blankets, pillows, and bumper pads from being placed inside your baby’s crib, you should take other safety precautions. It’s imperative that loveys, stuffed toys, nests, crib gyms, rolled-up towels, baby positioners, loungers, and literally everything else stay out of your baby’s crib for their first 12 months.
The only things that should ever be in your sleeping baby’s crib are a fitted crib sheet, them (placed on their back, wearing a swaddle or sleep sack), and a pacifier.
Baby Crib Safety Must: Decorate This Way
No matter how much you adore that lovely, framed painting of sailboats or that wall hanging made of macramé you found at a flea market, they don’t belong above your baby’s crib! It’s crucial that nothing that your child could pull down or that could fall on them be hung over the crib.
If you choose to use a baby mobile, be sure to firmly fasten it to the side rail, the wall, or the ceiling so that your child cannot reach it. (When your child is five months old or is able to stand unassisted, remove the mobile.)
Baby Crib Safety Must: Crib Placement
Your baby’s crib should be placed in the safest location, not just where you think it looks the best. That means keeping your baby’s crib away from any radiators or windows. Additionally, make sure that your child cannot access any curtain or blind strings. (Consider using cordless window coverings if at all possible.)
Additionally, you should avoid placing your baby’s crib in an area that receives morning sunlight or that might be illuminated by a streetlight at night.
What is the Best Material for Crib Sheets?
Your choice of crib sheet material is just as crucial as its size. Breathable crib bedding helps prevent overheating at night, and some materials endure more washings. The best crib sheets for your baby must be made of the right material, which is crucial.
So how do you determine which fabric is best? Crib sheets generally come in four different types of fabric:
- Cotton is the most breathable fabric and helps keep your baby from sweating too much. It is made of a sturdy material that withstands washing well and is hypoallergenic to reduce the risk of skin irritation. The disadvantage is that it wrinkles easily and can be initially scratchy and itchy.
- Polyester is a more affordable choice if you are on a budget. It is made of a soft, crease-resistant synthetic fabric that is also simple to clean. Because it isn’t as breathable as cotton, use caution when wearing it in the summer.
- Flannel is a cozy and robust fabric that is ideal if you live in a cold climate. One of the strongest fabrics, it is well known. Its lack of year-round usability means that it should be avoided during the winter.
- Bamboo is becoming more popular among eco-friendly parents. It is a fabric made of natural materials without any chemicals, making it breathable and environmentally friendly. Despite being a sturdy fabric, it might become worn out more quickly than cotton or polyester.
Conclusion: Baby Crib Safety
Fitted sheets on a firm mattress with no additional bedding or soft toys in the crib are the safest crib sheets for a newborn. Avoid purchasing packages that include crib bumpers, sleep positioners, or additional crib blankets.
Look for a crib produced after June 2011, when U.S. safety regulations were updated. It is prohibited to sell or resell unsafe cribs, including at garage sales and thrift shops.
What Makes a Good Crib Sheet?
Look for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) symbol, which she explains means it has to be at least 95% organic. The most breathable material, 100% cotton sheets are advised by the majority of dermatologists.
Do You Put a Comforter in a Crib?
Because a baby can suffocate under a blanket, the safest sleep environment is a bare crib that’s completely free of comforters, bumpers, pillows, fleece, sheepskin, and stuffed toys. Actually, a fitted sheet that is tucked in tightly on all sides is all your baby really needs at night.
How Often Do You Change Crib Bedding?
It’s most commonly recommended to change your crib sheets at least twice per week, more often if they are soiled or stained. As soon as a baby comes into contact with another person, spit up, milk, or diapers, the sheets can become soiled and start to accumulate bacteria.