Adjusting the mattress height according to your baby’s age is crucial to ensure his safety in the crib. But many baby cribs come with many different mattress height levels, which can be confusing for a lot of parents. If you are a first-time parent, this post brings you more details on how and when to lower crib mattresses for your baby.
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The importance of crib mattress height
The main reason for keeping the crib mattress at an appropriate height is to protect your baby from unwanted accidents. Statistically, out of 180,000 infants’ injuries studied from 1990 to 2008, 66% of them are related to babies falling out of the crib.
Crib mattress height won’t matter much for newborns or infants who are under 5 months of age. Placing the mattress at the highest level should cause no worry. Because at this stage, your baby doesn’t move much around the crib.
However, after about 5 months, many babies can stand fully up and even pull themselves up on the rails. This can cause severe injuries if he falls over. Therefore, setting up your crib height at a suitable level is crucial at this point.
When to lower crib mattress?
From what we have mentioned above, you probably don’t need to lower your crib mattress just yet if your baby is less than 5 months old. Leaving the mattress high can help parents take care of the baby more easily. This is especially true for those who are short.
Cribs usually come with many mattress height levels, each of which will match a specific age of your child. But, the time to set it lower or higher will vary from baby to baby.
The safety guideline from the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) indicates “the rule of 26 inches”. For the safety of the baby in cribs, the mattress must be at least 26 inches far from the rail.
As the baby grows taller, you can adjust the height accordingly. Just make sure he can’t reach the top rail and climb outside.
Also, remove all bumpers and wedges from the crib. As when the baby is getting older, he can use those things as levelers to climb out.
How far to lower the crib mattress?
Nowadays, different crib models may offer a number of height settings and increments. But generally, a standard crib that has a mattress height adjustable feature would come with 3 to 4 height options.
So, to be exact, at what age should you lower the crib mattress? Here are the common suggestions from pediatrics.
The highest level is typically safe for babies under four months old who aren’t strong enough to sit up or crawl yet. Other higher stages are for when the child grows older and begins to sit or stand up.
This is also the easiest level for parents to work with the crib as they don’t have to bend down to care for the child.
This setting is the second-lowest after the highest position. It is appropriate for kids that are at least 5 months old (about 5-8 months).
At this stage, your baby can sit up, roll over, or crawl around. Leaving the mattress too high can expose your kid to a big risk of falling over.
In some cribs, there might be more than one middle setting. Simply check yours and the instructions to see which one is ideal for your baby’s present stage.
When your kid is 8 months old or has developed the ability to stand, climb, or pull himself up on the rail, this is the safest setting to keep him from falling over.
If your crib mattress has reached its maximum height and your kid is 3 years old or 35 inches tall, you should switch to a toddler bed for safety reasons.
Is it safe to lower the crib mattress to the floor?
Following the recommendation from the crib manufacturers and pediatrics is surely a wise decision. But sometimes, standard figures just don’t apply to every kid.
You may find that your baby grows up a bit faster or he can stand up sooner than others. If this is your case, adjust the crib mattress height based on your mother’s instinct.
Well, it’s not exactly when saying there is no rule of thumb you can apply. If you find your baby standing up higher than the crib rail, for about 1/4 of his height, it is time to lower the mattress down.
Many cribs offer the option to lower the mattress to the floor. But this is only possible for those specific types of cribs because they are made safe to do so. Always consult the crib instruction before doing so.
When lowering the crib mattress to the floor, remember not to leave a gap between the side rail and the bottom rail. Otherwise, your baby can get stuck in it.
How to lower the crib mattress?
If you have a crib with adjustable crib heights, just lower the crib mattress step by step following the manufacturer’s instruction.
First, you must decide on which level you want to place your mattress. You may check and see what works best for your infant based on our safety explanation above.
Second, take off your sheets, mattress covers, and any other bedding you may have. This stage allows you to work on your crib without having to worry about them.
Third, remove the back screws using a screwdriver or drill. Then adjust the crib’s foot to the level you determined previously.
Replace the screws, then repeat the same process for the front of the crib. You may alternatively unscrew both the foot and head screws at once, position your mattress, and then reconnect the screws.
Finally, check your crib and put the bedding back on. Simply lay any object heavier than your child on the mattress to check whether it can support your baby’s weight. This is one way to determine whether or not you have reattached the screws firmly enough.
To sum it all up, when should you lower the crib mattress depends greatly on the age and height of your child. But there are some common recommendations you should check before adjusting its height. Hope you enjoy and share this post if you find it helpful!