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When to Lower a Crib | Recommended Heights  as Your Baby Grows 

 November 7, 2022

By  Jaycen Mag

Did you know that over 9000 crib-related infant injuries are reported at the emergency room yearly? A good number of these injuries are avoidable with simple crib adjustments. As your baby grows, you will need to adjust the crib mattress height for your baby's safety.

Key Takeaways

  •  Factors that determine when to lower your baby's crib mattress include the baby's growth in height, development milestones, and the baby's age. 
  • Crib mattress height adjustments are among the recommended safety practices that help avoid sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Observe crib safety guidelines by following the manufacturer's instructions and the crib's installation manual when lowering the crib mattress height.
  • Most babies will show signs of sitting unsupported at five to eight months, making it the perfect time to lower your crib.
  •  When lowering the crib mattress, keep the baby's crib clear of items such as mattress protector crib bumpers, pillows, and bedding.

During the first year of your baby's life, it's important to keep up with your baby's development milestones and know exactly when to lower the crib. The good thing is most baby crib's instruction manual provides several adjustment options for crib mattress heights.

When to Lower Crib

Guardians are encouraged to lower the crib mattress when the baby is four to five months old. As the baby grows, you will need to lower your baby's crib height several times until they are ready for a toddler's bed.

Cribs with multiple-level adjustability give parents an easier time as they can transition the baby from one level to another. Some parents prefer to have the crib set at the lowest setting from the beginning, while others prefer to adjust the crib periodically as the baby grows.  

There are three mattress height crib settings available in most baby cribs. It's essential to determine the right times to transition from one height setting to another until it's time to transfer your child to a toddler bed.

Highest Crib Mattress Settings

During the first five months, the baby crib's mattress height should be at the highest crib setting to allow you to cater to the baby easily. At the newborn stage, most babies are immobile and sleep through without movements.

As the baby grows in height, the need to lower the crib mattress arises to avoid accidents related to unexpected baby movements.

Moreover, the highest crib setting makes it easy for mothers with C-sections and back pains to cater to their babies effectively, making it safe for the parent and the baby. 

Middle Crib Mattress Setting

At five to eight months, lower your crib mattress height to the middle setting as the baby shows little mobility. As the baby reaches the unsupported sitting milestone, a lower crib mattress height prevents them from falling over as they try to navigate around or reach for things above the crib

Lowest Crib Settings

Between the ages of 8 to 10 months, babies will begin pulling up to a standing position. Their newfound skills pose a significant risk as they can easily fall over if left unsupervised. Before they start pulling up, lower the crib mattress to the lowest crib setting for their safety. When the baby signs climbing the crib, lower the crib mattress to the floor or transfer it to a toddler bed.

a crib and toys in the baby's room

Follow the manufacturer's manual instructions to lower your mattress to the floor. Ensure there is no space between the mattress and the crib to avoid injuries.

Apart from adjusting crib mattresses, you may also need to incline the baby's mattress if your toddler suffers from GERD or congestion. An inclined position helps prevent infant acid reflux, which causes a painful burning sensation and discomfort. Incline the mattress to about 30 degrees to keep your sleeping baby safe. 

Avoid placing pillows, bedding, stuffed animals, or objects on the crib mattress to make inclines. All objects should go below the mattress.

What Is the Recommended Crib Height?

The recommended crib mattress height adjustment beneath the crib rail side should not be less than 26 inches. According to federal crib regulations, 26 inches is a preventive measure against frequent falls reported at the emergency room. 

Federal crib regulations further advise parents with children over 35 inches to transfer them to a toddler bed or lower the crib to the floor. 

Dropping the crib to the lowest setting at the beginning is okay and very safe. The only disadvantage for you is the discomfort of placing the baby to sleep, especially if you are a first-timer. 

a baby in the crib

Safety Tips When Lowering the Crib Mattress

Parents should encourage safe sleep practices by setting their baby's crib mattress height appropriately. Baby sleeping is important for their growth, so ensure your baby is comfortable and safe in the crib.

Regarding baby safety, following important precautions while setting up a crib is mandatory to help prevent crib-related accidents such as children falling. The following are some of the things you need to put into consideration when lowering the crib.

  • In case you are adjusting mattress settings, follow all the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines as stipulated.
  • Periodically examine the crib for any sharp edges or splinters at the crib rails and slats to prevent any cuts and injuries. 
  • Ensure the mattress fits the crib perfectly without leaving any space that could trap the baby and cause injuries.
  • Before your baby clocks one year, the American Association of Paediatrics recommends parents avoid placing a pillow, bumper pads, crib bumpers, and loose soft items on the baby cribs to avoid suffocation
  • The crib should be placed away from the window curtains or any dangling objects that can cause strangling.
  • Clear the baby's crib mattress, mattress protector, bedding, and everything on the crib before making any adjustments.  When lowering the mattress, clearing the crib gives you a clear view of everything you are doing.
a man with a screwdriver in his hand fixing the crib

How to Lower the Crib

One can realise that lowering a baby's crib could be hectic. You should follow the manufacturer's crib safety guidelines and make the necessary adjustments to avoid all the hitches. 

To lower a crib mattress:

  • Remove all bedding, crib mattresses, mattress protectors, sheets, and everything on the crib before you start.
  • Select your desired setting and height beforehand to avoid confusion while holding screws in your hands.
  • Make the needed adjustments to your desired settings and replace the screws tightly.
  • Lower your mattress and ensure it's stable and fits perfectly. Reset your bed bedding.
parents watching their baby in the crib

FAQs

Why Should I Lower My Baby's Crib Mattress Height

You should lower the crib mattress height to prevent the baby from falling over when they begin pulling up to a standing position. At the age of four to eight months, it's advisable to adjust the crib mattress lower. 

What Is the Height Limit for a Crib Mattress?

The set height limit for a crib mattress is 26 inches. To avoid crib accidents, the American Association of Pediatrics recommends a height of 26 inches measured from the crib mattress support to the top rail. Lowering your mattress to the floor is recommended for taller babies with heights above 35 inches if your crib has adjustments for such settings. Most babies at this height will require you to move them to a toddler's bed.

What Time Should I Lower the Crib to the Lowest Level?

The best time to lower the crib is around eight to ten months when babies show signs of pulling up to stand. However, the timing might also depend on your child's development. Some parents prefer to lower cribs to the lowest level from the beginning. Ensure to follow all the required safety procedures while adjusting the baby crib mattress.

How Can I Choose the Correct Mattress Height?

To select the correct crib mattress height for your baby, look out for different growth milestones. You'll know it's time to lower the crib mattress when your baby sits unsupported and even lower when they can stand independently.

What Should Go Inside the Crib With the Baby?

The only thing that should go in the crib with the baby is a fitted sheet for the mattress. Parents are strictly advised to avoid stuffing the baby crib with items like crib bumpers, bedding, pillows, toys, and bumper pads. All these additions are unnecessary objects that could cover the baby's face and cause suffocation.  

Can I Lower My Crib Mattress to the Floor?

You can only lower the mattress to the floor if the crib allows those settings. If your baby has outgrown the crib, it's time to transition the baby to the toddler bed. 

Can I Incline My Crib Mattress to a Specific Angle?

Yes, you can. To incline your crib mattress, add pillows, blankets, or towels beneath the mattress at an angle between 15 to 30 degrees. DO NOT place them on top of the mattress to avoid suffocation.

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