While a nursery space varies in size, shape, and location, there are certain universal truths as to what makes up a safe nursery space.
As you begin your first journey into parenthood, the crib should be one of your initial purchases. While the idea of using an heirloom crib is lovely, the safety standards of cribs change from generation to generation. Therefore, it’s best to buy a new crib or sleep space. For example, drop-sided cribs were just removed from the market in 2010, so a crib that a friend used even five years ago is out of date.
Modern cribs should be used with new, snug-fitting crib mattresses. The mattress can have a fitted crib sheet that fits snug and cannot readily be pulled free. Other than the mattress, there should not be anything in the crib. Bumpers, which were popular just a few years ago, are no longer recommended as they pose a suffocation risk.
On your diaper changing area, your diaper pad should fit within the length and width of the dresser or table it sits upon. If you do not have a suitable changing surface, creating a space on the floor is a great option. The idea for the safe diaper changing space is to have everything you need at hand’s reach so you can safely change the baby without having to step away or take both hands off the baby. Regardless of the setup of your diaper changing area, never walk away from the baby when they are on the changing table.
A nursery is made even better when the parents have a comfortable and safe place to sit to feed their infant. A glider is a nice option as it allows for good mother-child body positioning when feeding. Some gliders have storage built right into the sides, which is useful for extra things, like burp cloths.
The space should have a smoke and carbon monoxide detector installed. The batteries should be changed regularly, at least twice a year, and the unit tested to make sure it is functioning properly.
While a swing or bouncy seat is not an absolute, it does give you a second space to safely place your baby when you need to have your hands free. Babies love to watch their parents in action, but babies should never be placed on an adult bed or countertop as rollover accidents are all too common and can happen in the blink of an eye.
Other components that can be useful are a ceiling fan, which gently circulates the air, and a baby monitor, which allows you to keep an eye or ear on baby when you are not in the room. The monitor should be secured out of reach from your infant or toddler with all cords safely away to avoid a strangulation hazard.
The window and door of the room should be functional, so that in case of an emergency, they can easily be opened by fire rescue. Window shades are fine, but cords should be out of reach of toddlers to prevent accidental entanglement and strangulation.