Cribs, cradles and bassinets

What every parent should know

Babies spend a lot of time in their cribs, cradles, and bassinets. To make sure yours is safe to use, check Health Canada's Consumer Product Recalls to find out about products that have been recalled.

The difference between cribs, cradles and bassinets

A crib that meets current Canadian safety regulations is the safest place for an infant to sleep. A crib can be used until there is a possibility that the child could climb out on their own or when they are taller than 90 cm (35 in). A cradle that meets current Canadian safety regulations is also a safe place for an infant to sleep until they can push up on their hands and knees or they reach the manufacturer's recommended weight limit. A bassinet that meets current Canadian safety regulations is a safe place for an infant to sleep until they can roll over or they reach the manufacturer's recommended weight limit.

Did you know...

Cribs made before September 1986 do not meet current safety regulations and should not be used. In fact, it's a criminal offence to advertise, sell or give away such cribs.

What to know before buying a crib, cradle or bassinet

  • Look for a label on the crib that shows it was made after September 1986. Cribs, cradles and bassinets without a label or instructions should not be sold or purchased.
  • Cribs, cradles and bassinets with decorative cut-outs or corner posts taller than 3 mm (0.12 in) can be dangerous and should be avoided.
  • Make sure the mattress fits tightly against all four sides of the crib. The space between mattress and crib, cradle or bassinet should be no larger than 3 cm (1 3/16 in). The crib mattress should be no more than 15 cm (6 in) thick. The cradle or bassinet mattress should not be more than 3.8 cm (1 1/2 in) thick.
  • Make sure the crib, cradle or bassinet bars are no more than 6 cm (2 3/8 in) apart.
  • Replace the mattress if it is worn out or not firm.
  • Check that all wood and metal parts are free of splinters or burrs and there are no loose nuts or bolts.
  • Destroy a crib, cradle or bassinet if it is visibly damaged, missing parts or missing information.

How to use a crib, cradle or bassinet safely

  • Never modify a crib, cradle or bassinet in any way and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Frequently check the crib, cradle or bassinet to ensure it is solid and all screws/bolts are tight.
  • After placing your baby in the crib, cradle or bassinet, make sure the sides are locked and securely in position.
  • Move the crib mattress support to its lowest level as soon as your baby is able to sit upright.
  • Remove mobiles and toy bars when your baby begins to push up on his or her hands and knees.
  • Avoid using soft pillows, comforters, stuffed toys and bumper pads in the crib, cradle or bassinet as they can cause suffocation.
  • Do not harness or tie your baby to his or her crib, cradle or bassinet, and do not leave a baby in a crib, cradle or bassinet with a necklace, elastic band, scarf, pacifier or long cord -- these items can cause strangulation.
  • Ensure your crib, cradle or bassinet is away from windows, curtains, blind cords, lamps, electrical plugs and extension cords.
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