Nursery Equipment Safety Checklist

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Nursery Equipment Safety Checklist

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The following safety guidelines are adapted from Safe Kids Canada, Health Canada, and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). They are for various equipment found in nurseries, both at home and in child care settings. For more information, see the Safe Kids Canada website (, the Health Canada Consumer Product Safety website (, or the Consumer Product Safety Commission website (

Back carriers

All back carriers should meet the following safety standards:

Check if meets standards

Leg openings are small enough to prevent a child from slipping out.  
Leg openings are large enough to prevent chafing.  
Frames have no pinch points in the folding mechanism.  
Carrier has padded covering over metal frame near baby's face.  


Do not use a framed back carrier until the baby is 4 or 5 months old, when his or her neck is able to withstand jolts and not sustain an injury.


Bassinets and cradles

All bassinets and cradles should meet the following safety standards:

Check if meets standards

Bassinet/cradle has a sturdy bottom and a wide base for stability.  

Bassinet/cradle has smooth surfaces—no protruding staples or other hardware that could injure the baby.

Legs have strong, effective locks to prevent folding while in use.  
Mattress is firm and fits snugly.  

Wood or metal cradles have slats spaced no more than 6 cm (2 3/8) inches apart.



Follow the manufacturer's guidelines on weight and size of baby who can safely use these products. Do not use sleep positioners.


Carrier seats

All carrier seats should meet the following safety standards:

Check if meets standards

Carrier seat has a wide, sturdy base for stability.  
Carrier has non-skid feet to prevent slipping.  
Supporting devices lock securely.  
Carrier seat has crotch and waist strap.  
Buckle or strap is easy to use.  


Never use the carrier as a car seat unless it is labelled for that purpose.


Changing tables

All changing tables should meet the following safety standards:

Check if meets standards

Table has safety straps to prevent falls.  
Table has drawer or shelves that are easily accessible without leaving the baby unattended.  


Do not leave a baby on the table unattended. Always use the straps to prevent the baby from falling.



All cribs should meet the following safety standards:

Check if meets standards

Slats are spaced no more than 6 cm (2 3/8 inches) apart.  

No slats are missing, loose, or cracked.


Mattress fits snugly—no more than two finger-widths between edge of mattress and crib side.


Mattress support is securely attached to the headboard and footboard.


Corner posts are no higher than 1.5 mm (1/16 inch).


Top edges of headboard and footboard have no cutouts.

Drop-side latches cannot be easily released by the baby.  
Drop-side latches securely hold sides in raised position.  

All screws, bolts, and other hardware are present and tight.



Do not use sleep positioners. Do not place crib near draperies or blinds. A child can strangle on window cords or fall through screens. When the child reaches 90 cm (35 inches) in height, he or she has outgrown the crib and should sleep in a bed.


Crib toys

All crib toys should meet the following safety standards:

Check if meets standards

No strings or cords should dangle into the crib.


Crib gym or mobile has a label warning to remove from crib when the child can push up on hands and knees or reaches 5 months of age, whichever comes first.


Toy parts are too large to be a choking hazard.



Avoid hanging toys across the crib or on crib corner posts with strings long enough to result in strangulation. Remove crib gyms when the child is able to pull or push up on hands and knees.


Gates and enclosures

All gates and enclosures should meet the following safety standards:

Check if meets standards

Openings in gate are too small to entrap a child's head or neck.

Gate has a pressure bar or other fastener that will resist forces exerted by a child.  


Hazardous accordion-style gates with large V-shaped or diamond-shaped openings aren't made anymore. But they may be sold at yard sales or thrift stores. Do not use them.


High chairs

All high chairs should meet the following safety standards:

Check if meets standards

There is a crotch strap that can restrain a child in a high chair.


High chair has restraining straps that are independent of the tray.

Tray locks securely.  

Buckles on straps are easy to fasten and unfasten.


High chair has a wide base for stability.

Caps or plugs on tubing are firmly attached and cannot be pulled off and choke a child.  

Folding high chairs have an effective locking device.



The feeding tray is not a restraint. Only safety straps keep the child from climbing out of the high chair or sliding down and strangling.



All pacifiers should meet the following safety standards:

Check if meets standards

No ribbon, string, cord, or yarn is attached to pacifier.  
Shield is large enough and firm enough to not fit in the child's mouth.  
Guard or shield has ventilation holes so the baby can breathe if the shield does get into the mouth.  
Pacifier nipple has no holes or tears that might cause it to break off in baby's mouth.  


Never hang anything around your baby's neck.



All playpens should meet the following safety standards:

Check if meets standards

Playpens or travel cribs have top rails that will automatically lock when lifted into the normal use position.


Playpen does not have a rotating hinge in the centre of the top rails.


Drop-side mesh playpen or mesh crib has label warning never to leave a side in the down position.

Mesh has small weave (less than 7 mm [1/4 inch] openings).  

Mesh has no tears or loose threads.

Mesh is securely attached to top rail and floor plate.  

Wooden playpen has slats spaced no more than 6 cm (2 3/8 inches) apart.



Never leave an infant in a mesh playpen or crib with the drop-side down. Infants can roll into the space between the mattress and loose mesh side and suffocate.


Rattles, squeeze toys, teethers

All rattles, squeeze toys, and teethers should meet the following safety standards:

Check if meets standards

Rattles, squeeze toys, and teethers have handles too large to lodge in a baby's throat.


Squeeze toys do not contain a squeaker that could detach and choke a baby.


Rattles should not have ends shaped like a ball.



To prevent suffocation, take rattles, squeeze toys, teethers, and other toys out of the crib or playpen when the baby sleeps.


Strollers and carriages

All strollers and carriages should meet the following safety standards:

Check if meets standards

Stroller or carriage has a wide base to prevent tipping.  
Seat belt and crotch strap are securely attached to frame.  
Seat belt buckle is easy to use.  
Brakes securely lock the wheel(s).  
Shopping basket is low on the back and directly over or in front of the rear wheels for stability.  
When used in carriage position, leg hole openings can be closed.  


Always secure the seat belts. Never leave a child unattended in a stroller. Close the opening between the handrest (grab bar) and seat when using a stroller in the reclined-carriage position. When folding or unfolding a stroller, keep your child away from it.


Toy chests

All toy chests should meet the following safety standards:

Check if meets standards

Chest has no lid latch, which could entrap a child within the chest.  
Hinged lid has a spring-loaded lid support that will support the lid in any position and will not require periodic adjustment.  
Chest has ventilation holes or spaces in front or sides or under the lid, in case a child should get inside.  


If you already own a toy chest or trunk with a freely falling lid, remove the lid to avoid a head injury to a small child, or install a spring-loaded lid support.

Other Places To Get Help

Online Resource

Health Canada Consumer Product Safety Programme
Health Canada Consumer Product Safety
Web Address:

This Web site provides updated information on product safety and potential hazards. It also provides links to specific information such as product recalls and child safety issues.


Safe Kids Canada
180 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON  M5G 1Z8
Phone: (416) 813-6766
Fax: (416) 813-4986
Web Address:

Safe Kids Canada is a national injury prevention program provided by the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The Web site provides information on keeping children safe and preventing injuries.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East West Highway
Bethesda, MD  20814
Phone: 1-800-638-2772 consumer hotline
(301) 504-7923
Fax: (301) 504-0124 and (301) 504-0025
TDD: (301) 595-7054
Web Address:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an independent federal regulatory agency. The goal of this agency is to save lives and keep families safe by reducing the risk of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products. CPSC develops safety standards, recalls products or organizes how they will be repaired, researches possible product hazards, and informs the general public about these and other safety issues. You can call their toll-free number or e-mail them to report unsafe products.


Other Works Consulted

  • Consumer Product Safety Commission (2003). The Safe Nursery: A Booklet to Help Avoid Injuries From Nursery Furniture and Equipment. Available online:
  • Government of Canada (2010). Cribs and cradles. Available online:
  • Government of Canada (2010). Playpens. Available online:


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Revised March 23, 2011

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.