Adjusting Your Baby’s Crib Mattress: Why, How & When

crib height

Are you thinking about adjusting the height of your baby’s crib but you aren’t quite sure if it’s safe to do so?

Almost all new cribs are designed with adjustable crib heights that allow you to make the necessary adjustments as your little one continues to grow and develop.

This simple yet very effective feature allows you to maintain a safe sleeping environment for your child and makes placing them in the crib and taking them back out much more convenient.

So when is it the right time to adjust the height of your baby’s crib? And is inclining the crib mattress ever safe? In this article, we will explore some of the most common crib height and other related questions.

Why Should You Adjust the Crib Mattress?

There are several reasons why parents may want to adjust the height level of the crib mattress. Perhaps the most common reason is that when initially setting up the crib you didn’t really consider the height and only once you put your baby to bed did you realize it’s not at the right level.

You may want to adjust the height or incline of the crib mattress for other common reasons too:

Your Infant Suffers from GERD  

Acid reflux or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a relatively common issue in infants. It occurs when stomach acid travels up the tube of the esophagus, which can result in symptoms such as vomiting and pain.

Sometimes acid reflux can be helped by adjusting the position of the mattress so that there is a slight incline. This, in turn, can help prevent or reduce the amount of acid that makes its way into the esophagus.

Improved Mobility

Adjusting the height of the mattress can make it easier for some parents to take their infant in and out of the crib. For instance, by adjusting the mattress to a higher level it may be easier for you to reach inside the crib and handle your baby.

This is a particularly useful feature for parents who might be on the shorter side. Although it must be noted that the priority is to maintain a safe mattress height for your child, not for your convenience. Therefore, ensure it is at a level that prevents your child from climbing out. This will be discussed in more detail later in this article.

Adjusting Crib Mattress Safety Tips 

Many parents and caregivers worry about the safety implications of adjusting their baby’s crib mattress. Yet, the reality is that making adjustments is necessary to maintain a safe sleep environment.

The important thing to remember is that in order for the adjustments to be safe, they need to be carried out with some important considerations in mind. Here is a general overview:

Inclining the crib mattress –  If your baby suffers from acid reflux or GERD then it may be appropriate to incline the mattress to provide them with some relief.

Having the mattress at the highest level – If you have a newborn baby, then it’s usually ok to have the mattress at the highest level. However, as your baby begins to grow and develop this will be adjusted to a lower height as appropriate.

Once they can pull themselves up – It’s important to bear in mind that once your child is able to pull themselves up and stand that the mattress needs to be at the lowest level.

Should You Raise the Crib Mattress? 

The crib mattress is typically only raised when making the initial adjustments for newborns. From then on, it’s typical to continue to lower the crib mattress as they grow and develop to prevent them from climbing and escaping from the crib.

However, some parents find great relief in creating an incline, in which case the crib mattress is slightly raised at one side. Many parents find that this can provide great relief for infants suffering from acid reflux and congestion.

Inclining the Crib Mattress the Safe Way  

If you think creating an incline or sloped mattress may provide your infant with some relief from conditions like GERD, then it’s essential you do it in a safe manner.

Never create an incline by placing other objects inside the crib and on top of the mattress. These could pose a potential suffocation or strangulation risk and so should be completely avoided.

Instead, you can create a slight angle by placing objects underneath the mattress until you achieve the intended incline.

Why Should You Lower the Crib Mattress?

The mattress is lowered to maintain a safe place for your baby to sleep. A key design feature of cribs are the side walls that keep your baby safe and secure and prevent them from falling out and injuring themselves.

For this reason, as your infant grows the mattress needs to be periodically lowered to a level that prevents your infant from climbing out of the crib, falling and potentially hurting themselves.

When Should You Lower the Crib Mattress?

Typically, the crib mattress is set to the greatest height for newborns and then as they continue to grow, develop and move, the height should be lowered accordingly.

The mattress should always be positioned at a height that prevents them from climbing out. However, once they are able to stand up, the mattress should be at the lowest level available.

When Should Your Baby Transition from a Crib to a Bed? 

It’s equally important to be aware that at some point your child will be just too large for a crib and at this point, it will no longer be a safe place for them to sleep.

In general, it is advised that you transition your child from using a crib to an infant bed when they are able to climb or are at least 35 inches tall.

How to Lower a Crib Mattress 

The proper way to lower a crib mattress can vary depending on the brand or model you use. Therefore, it’s always recommended that you read the manufacturers instructions for more precise guidance on how to lower your crib mattress.

Yet in general, these are the steps involved:

1. Determine the Height – Before you begin to take apart various components and use tools it’s a good idea to determine how low you want the mattress to sit.

2. Remove Sheets – Before making any major adjustments remove the sheets and bedding to prevent it from getting damaged during the process.

3. Lower the Mattress – Start with one side of the crib (the foot) then move to the next (the head). Remove the screws on one side and place the mattress at the desired height.

Next, re-attach the screws and move onto the head of the crib. Once you have made the necessary adjustments and tested the new position fasten the screws in their new position.

4. Put the Sheets Back On – Once you have lowered the crib mattress into the new position you can put the sheets and mattress pads back on.

Final Thoughts 

Making adjustments to the position and height of your infant’s crib is sometimes necessary to ensure their continued safety. Making such adjustments are completely safe just as long you factor in important considerations.

As mentioned, it’s important to ensure you low the crib mattress whenever required to ensure your child is unable to climb out of the crib.

Also, remember to have it on the lowest setting when your infant is able to stand and be prepared for the day when they will need to transition from their crib to a toddler bed.

How did you make the adjustments to your crib? Do you have any tips you think we might have missed? Let us know.

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