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How to Lower a Crib | Learn to Set the Perfect Height for Your Baby 

 November 9, 2022

By  Jaycen Mag

Are you looking to learn how to lower a crib, so it's at the perfect height for your baby? Knowing precisely how to do that is crucial because your baby's sleeping arrangements change during the first year of life. You should adjust crib mattress height when your baby is around six months old or when they start pulling up to a standing position.

Key Takeaways

  • Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when assembling or disassembling the crib.
  • For proper crib safety, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the top of the mattress should be at least 26 inches below the side panel.
  • As your baby starts to sit up or stand, you need to lower the crib so they don't hurt themselves trying to climb out.
  • Always consider safety when adjusting your crib's mattress height.
  • AAP recommends adjusting the crib to the lowest setting when infants are about to hit one year or can climb out of their crib.

Whether you have a drop-side or stationary crib, it's crucial to get it right when lowering the mattress so that the sleeping baby can be comfortable. If lowering your baby's crib mattress is a challenge, don't worry; we've detailed how to lower a crib below.

How to Lower a Crib: A Quick Insight

As your baby grows, they start to sit, crawl, and stand. You'll want to lower the crib so they don't hurt themselves when climbing. Here are the steps to follow: 

  • Remove any bedding or toys that might be in the way. Then, locate the adjustment screws on the side of the crib. These are usually located at the top of the crib frame.
  • Using a screwdriver, loosen the screws until they are no longer tight. You may be forced to use a power drill if the screws are particularly tight. Once the screws are loosened, you can lower the mattress support.
  • Move slowly and carefully so that you don't accidentally drop the mattress. Once you have lowered the mattress support to its lowest setting, replace any earlier bedding or toys you removed.
baby's crib

Recommended Crib Settings

There are a few recommended settings for cribs that will help create a safe environment for your baby, including:

  • The mattress should be firm and fit snugly in the crib. 
  • There should be no gaps between the mattress and the crib's sides. 
  • The bottom of the mattress should be at least 26 inches from the top of the crib rails. Make sure the sheets are tight-fitting and made from a breathable material. 
  • Having a mattress protector is also recommended. 
  • The blankets should be lightweight and only cover the baby from the chest down. 
  • Pillows are not recommended in the crib. 
  • Place the crib in a safe location away from windows, cords, or any other safety hazard. 
  • The crib should also be away from any heat sources, such as radiators or vents.

Recommended Crib Height By Baby's Age

The recommended crib height is at least 26 inches for babies between 8 months and toddlerhood. This height will ensure that your baby has plenty of space to move around and won't be able to climb out of the crib.

However, if your baby is under six months old, you may want to lower the baby's crib mattress so that he or she can't roll out. Additionally, if your baby is teething or has any other medical condition that could cause discomfort, you may also want to lower the crib.

Following the four-inch rule should give you a good starting point for determining the appropriate crib height for your baby.

baby sitting in the crib

Safety for Adjusting Crib Mattresses

When adjusting the crib mattress height, always consider the following safety tips.

  • Make sure that the crib is on a level surface and that the locking mechanism is engaged before making any adjustments. 
  • Remove any bedding or stuffed animals from the crib before you lower the mattress. 
  • Then, holding the mattress in place, use both hands to release the locking mechanism and lower the mattress to the desired height. 
  • Once the mattress is in place, re-engage the locking mechanism to prevent accidental movement. 
  • For added safety, always check that the crib's side rails are in the correct position and secure before putting your baby back in the baby's crib.

The Best Time to Lower Your Baby's Crib

Most experts recommend waiting until your baby can sit up unassisted before changing the crib mattress height. Many factors determine the time to lower your baby's crib. These include:

  • The age of your child
  • The size of your child's bed
  • Your child's health and medical conditions
  • Your family's habits
baby with mummy and daddy on the bed

AAP Crib Height Recommendations

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that the baby's mattress be placed at least 26 inches from the crib rail. At this position, your baby cannot climb out; they are protected from falling and injuring themselves. If you have an older crib that is lower to the ground, you can use a crib skirt or blanket to raise it to the appropriate crib height. You can also purchase a new mattress designed to fit a lower crib. Just be sure to measure before you buy so that you get one that fits properly.

Crib Safety

It's important to make sure your baby's crib is safe. Here are some tips on how to lower a crib:

  1. Always follow the crib's instruction manual when assembling or disassembling the crib.
  2. When adjusting the crib mattress height, be sure to support the entire weight of the mattress and box spring on one side before removing any bolts on the other side.
  3. Use caution when lowering the side rails of the crib. They may be spring-loaded and can snap back up suddenly.
  4. Be sure to lower the mattress support slowly and evenly to avoid trapping fingers or clothing underneath.
  5. The mattress should be solid and fitting to prevent a baby from becoming wedged in between.
  6. Make sure there are no loose, missing, or broken screws.

When Should a Crib Be at the Lowest Point?

You should lower your crib to its lowest position before your child learns to pull themselves up to stand. Babies usually begin pushing themselves up to stand between 8 and 10 months. AAP recommends adjusting the crib to the lowest setting when infants are about to hit one year or can climb out of their crib (see also convertible cribs). Pillows and crib bumpers could suffocate a baby, resulting in sudden infant death syndrome. Thus, parents should never place these items in a crib with the baby.

Why Lower the Crib Mattress?

You might want to lower the baby's crib mattress for a few reasons, like when your baby is starting to sit up, and you're worried about them falling out. Or, your toddler is becoming more active, and you want to ensure they don't climb out of the crib. Either way, lowering the crib mattress will give you peace of mind.

Here are some tips when to lower the baby's crib mattress:

  • Make sure you raise it evenly. You don't want one side of the toddler bed to be higher than the other, as this could create an uneven sleeping surface for your baby or toddler.
  • Use something to prop up the crib mattress, such as a book or wood block. The prop will prevent the mattress from sliding down when your child moves around in the crib.
  • Don't make the crib mattress too high. You still want your child to comfortably get in and out of the crib, so don't raise it too much.
  • Lowering the crib mattress is a simple way to provide extra safety for your child without making any significant changes.

What Age Do You Transition From Crib to Toddler Bed?

The average age for transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed is around 18 months old. However, every child is different; some may be ready earlier or later. Consider the following to determine whether your child is prepared to make the switch:

  • If your child is climbing out of their crib, it's time to transition to a bed.
  • If your child can sleep smoothly through the night without waking up, they may be ready for a bed.
  • If your child is interested in sleeping in a "big kid" bed, it may be time to switch.

There are several ways to lower your baby's crib, but the most important thing is to do it safely. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions if you decide to lower the crib mattress. When in doubt, seek professional help. You can lower your crib and keep your baby safe with a bit of care and attention.

FAQs

What's the AAP Crib Height Recommendation? 

The AAP recommends that the baby's crib mattress be placed at least 26 inches from the crib rail. At this position, your baby cannot climb out; they are protected from falling and injuring themselves.

What's the Best Way to Ensure Safety When Lowering a Crib?

The best way to ensure safety when lowering a crib is to follow the crib's instruction manual. Make sure the locking mechanism is engaged before making any adjustments. Further, always check that the crib's side rails are in the correct position.

At What Age Does a Baby Transition From Crib to Toddler Bed?

On average, babies transition to toddler beds when they hit 18 months. However, every child is different. Some may be ready earlier, while others take more than the average period.

a woman holding the baby standing in the crib

Why Do You Lower the Crib Mattress?

You have to lower the crib mattress for your toddler's safety. If your toddler becomes more active, they can start scaling the crib, and you need to prevent that from happening. Lowering the crib also protects babies from falling out. 

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