What Level Should The Crib Be At For Baby?

by Sarah Hosseini

Your baby is growing, standing possibly, maybe even jumping in their crib - what do you do? To lower or not to lower? As a person with short arms I certainly am interested in this question because, depending on how low the crib mattress is, I may or may not be lifting half of my body over the edge of the crib just to get my baby out. I know I'm not alone. The crib mattress conundrum is a situation many parents find themselves in when their once barely moving baby starts to sit unsupported, crawl, and pull themselves up on everything. So, what level should the crib be at?

I certainly didn't think it was time to move the crib mattress down for my baby, until it was indeed time. My daughter was 11 months old when I realized it was time to lower the crib level. I heard her wake up from her nap one afternoon and, upon entering the room, I saw her trying to hoist her little leg over the side of the crib. Thankfully, I was there to stop her experimental jump from happening because she would've fell straight down onto the hardwood floors. There was a fuzzy rug directly in front of her crib to absorb some of the fall if it happened, but still, ouch. We were lucky, others aren't so lucky.


According to Web MD approximately 10,000 children are taken to the emergency room every year, an average of one every hour, for injuries that include falling or becoming wedged in cribs, playpens, and bassinets. More than 80 percent of the injuries involved cribs and two-thirds of those injuries happened when the children fell out of the crib or jumped out. The same site noted that most injuries were mostly scrapes and bruises, but there were also concussions, cuts, and fractures reported.

There is no magic number or recommended height specified by the government, child safety, or medical agencies. According to guidelines we found at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh website, it's advised that parents set the crib mattress at the lowest position when your baby learns to stand.

The same Web MD article also pointed out that parents need to be cautious of the cribs they receive as hand-me-downs or cribs they buy at yard sales. Some may be recalled or have features, like mattress lowering, that may or may not be functioning properly.

Many kids stand up or pull up on other objects, not just in their cribs. Even if a child hasn't actually done it yet, parents should be able to tell if it will happen soon simply by observing the child. Once you see it, that's the green light to lower that crib as low as it will go.