So your little one is learning how to use their hands and feet. It’s all fun and games, until one day you notice that they’re trying to climb over their crib. Maybe they’re too clumsy to do it just yet, but you can’t help but wonder for how long? Will you be there to prevent them from doing it when the day comes? Will they continue trying? Is there anything you can do to keep them safe without constantly looking over your shoulder?
Up until recently, crib tents were a preferred method of choice for these “issues” – you just basically clip on a rooftop to your crib and voila! Problem solved… Or is it?
After the recent affairs with Tots in Mind Crib Tents, less and fewer parents feel at ease when using crib tents, but are crib tents really that dangerous considering their functionality? Let’s pose the burning question – crib tents, yes or no?
How Crib Tents Work
Crib tents work as a cover for your crib. The most common type of crib tent is a dome-shaped one. Its foundation is a metal skeleton, wrapped with cloth and connected in a drape-like style with lightweight fabrics, such as nylon mesh.
The mesh usually has a clip or zipper so that you don’t need to detach the whole tent when wanting to reach for your child. The construction is then secured to the top of the crib like a rooftop, most often with loop straps. Some models cover the entire crib like a real tent.
Crib tents are designed for infants, who don’t know how to walk yet but are progressively learning. In theory, crib tents should discourage and prevent your infant from climbing over your crib or accidentally readjusting their convertible crib when you’re not around. They are also meant to protect the cribs from insects, and even naughty household pets.
Are crib tents really that dangerous?
The answer to this question is yes and no. The American Academy of Paediatrics observed infant emergency room reports for eighteen years and found over 180.000 cases of injury that were directly linked to cribs, playpens, and bassinets.
Crib tents might prevent your little one from falling over the edge of the crib, but they pose significant dangers on their own, some of which are:
This solely depends on the design of the crib tent and how well preserved the crib tent is. Some models come with unnecessary decorations, bows, ribbons and similar items that your baby can wrap themselves in, which poses a strangulation risk. A plain but damaged crib tent can pose the same risk, as your baby can, in an example, try and put their head through a hole in the mesh and get stuck.
If there is only one zipper on your crib tent, there is an avoidable risk of it getting stuck in the most inconvenient of times, regardless of if there’s outside or inside danger. This can result in a life-threatening situation. Some parents also secure their crib tents with additional straps, doubling the risks.
Crib Tent Substitutions
There are many things that you can do instead of getting a crib tent, such as:
- Getting a crib with a taller fence that doesn’t have additional vertical bars
- Lowering your crib mattress
- Removing any bumpers or additional padding from your crib to make it harder for your child to climb
Of course, if you can’t afford new furniture and you have a really hyperactive child, then a crib tent is better than nothing. Still, you want to play it safe and research into what your various options are to avoid any additional dangers.
Things to consider when getting a crib tent
Is the Tent High Enough?
Crib tents should discourage your baby from climbing over – not from standing up altogether. Crib tents that are too short can slow down your child’s development in this sense, or they can get frustrated and try to break through the tent – which can lead to injury.
The key is to find the perfect height to make sure that the tent is tall enough so that your child can stand up and still have space to move.
Is the Tent Easy to Open?
Some crib tents come with a double zipper on the nylon, or even magnet seals or snap fasteners. The easier to open your crib tent, the less likely it is that you will lose time getting to your child in a potential emergency situation.
What’s the mesh-like?
Try and choose a mesh that is flame retardant, but also strong enough so that your child can’t rip it easily. The mesh fabric shouldn’t be too tight as that can reduce airflow and increase heat inside of the crib – you want to make sure your child has proper airflow when they’re in their crib.
The CPSC also strongly advises that parents who use any crib or play yard tent should only use the attachment equipment that comes with the tent, nothing more. Do not tie tents to hold them in place. Tents that are torn, ripped, have any missing pieces or are in any type of disrepair are dangerous for your child”
Once your baby reaches toddler age and knows how to stand up and walk on their own, it’s a good idea to convert your crib or buy a toddler bed. This approach is way safer and less likely to get your child hurt, because if they’re able to walk – it’s better to encourage them to do so by freeing their space. This way you will both feed their curiosity and discourage them from developing further interest in climbing.