Set Up a Crib with Zero Stress

by Joe Kita

In the hierarchy of dad hassles, assembling the crib ranks right up there with putting the Christmas tree in the stand. In fact, Daddy MD Guide Robin Peavler, MD, is only half-kidding when he suggests “learning Chinese first.” Nonetheless, here’s your crib sheet for getting this job done quickly and safely, so you can get on to more important things – like putting together the stroller:

Say no-thanks to hand-me-downs: More than 11 million cribs have been recalled since 2007 (mostly for dangerous “drop-side” designs). This prompted the feds to issue new safety standards that took effect on June 28, 2011. No matter how cool it would be to have junior use the same crib you did or how much money you’d save by borrowing the neighbor’s, don’t. This is your baby we’re talking about. Although all cribs sold in the U.S. are supposed to meet the latest standards, shop at reputable retailers, beware too-good-to-be-true deals, and double-check with the manager to be sure what you’re considering is a new model.

Assemble it in the baby’s room: We have a friend, who shall remain nameless, who put together the crib in his living room (“Hey, the game was on!”) only to discover afterward it wouldn’t fit up the stairs.

Follow the instructions: Like driving directions, most guys think they don’t need them. But this is a baby not a road trip to Buffalo. If the instructions are unclear or missing, don’t wing it. Visit the manufacturer’s website. Likewise, if there are any missing or incorrect parts, return it to the store for a replacement. If you’re not a handyman, ask the retailer to assemble it for you.

Check for sharp edges: After it’s together, Dr. Peavler recommends running your hands around every nook and corner feeling for anything that could cut or snag the baby. Sandpaper or file burrs away and sink all screws fully.

Be careful where you put it: Don’t position the crib under window curtains or blinds with cords. Babies can strangle on these.

Register your purchase: Mail the card and register online to be doubly sure the manufacturer has your contact information in case of recalls.