Nursery Safety 101: How To Babyproof Your Shared Nursery

This is a sponsored post by Nationwide. All opinions are my own!

Here's the thing: preparing for baby isn't easy. You have tons of restless nights, heated discussions over paint colors; not to mention cribs, car seats, strollers – and those are just the easy choices. As soon as baby comes, there are plenty of even more difficult decisions that need to be made within the first 12 months and it just keeps going all the way up to year 18. It's never ending.

Sure, you have the nursery all planned out after the first sonogram, but the reality is that you probably didn't think about all the considerations needed for baby to be safe and sound in his new little space. After all, emergency rooms treated over 65,000 young children for nursery-related injuries in 2015. Meaning that amazing mobile that you got on Etsy might not be the most crib-safe. And those new blinds you’ve been looking at may be fine but it never hurts to double check before baby gets around to crawling over and grabbing them. Which is why I'm partnering with Nationwide and its Make Safe Happen program to make your nursery as safe as possible. So, you can rest easy knowing your little guy or gal can roam freely and basically hazard free.
For me, raising children in the city is a way different experience than in the suburbs. For our first two boys they each had a nursery equipped with a crib, glider and numerous pieces of furniture. We had tons of wall anchors for furniture, cord shorteners for the blinds, and protective covers over every outlet in the space. This time around, being in a much smaller space in the city we decided to share a room with Indiana. It just didn't seem practical to have him share a room with the boys where small toys, cords and random choke-able items abound...

I'll admit it hasn't been the easiest task to make space for another person in our room, but I wouldn't change it for the world. It all came down to making the most our space with a few safety considerations in mind. After moving the furniture around the room, we found the perfect placement for our crib that fit perfectly in a nook next to the closet and away from windows, heavy furniture and cords. For storage solutions we decided that baskets would be the best bet for all of Indiana's toys, diapers and linens. We placed the baskets under the crib for easy access.

First things first, the crib. Skip the hand-me-down cribs and opt for a crib manufactured after 2011. Slats should be less than 2 3/8 inches apart and should be free of toys, stuffed animals and bumpers (including mesh, padded or breathable options). We opted for one on wheels so we could move it easily as needed. The crib should only have a firm, well-fitted mattress with a tightly fitted sheet. Note: as soon as baby is able to sit up move the mattress down to the lowest setting on the crib. You'd be surprised how quickly they can figure out how to "jump ship" after that milestone.

As for putting baby to bed always refer to the ABC's of sleep: ALONE. BACK. CRIB.

Fact: Sleep-related deaths are the leading cause of infant mortality for children under age 1; 90% of these deaths occur before an infant reaches 6 months old.

Decor Tip: Skip the over-the-top crib designs and accessorize the mattress with bold and bright sheets. You can swap out styles and colors whenever the mood strikes. Even a fun rug placed under the crib for additional accessories. For us, we wanted his little corner to be “Indiana’s space” so we opted for a 5ft’’ round rug to pop against his crib and other accessories. It’s a great way to tie together his own space without clashing with the shared space.

Crib Safety Checklist:
  • Keep toys and stuffed animals out of the crib
  • Do not install bumpers, whether padded, mesh or breathable
  • D├ęcor and accessories with cords or strings, such as hanging mobiles, name banners and baby monitors should not be in or near a crib
  • Use a crib manufactured after 2011 that meets the most current safety standards:
    • Slats should be less than 2 3/8 inches apart.
    • Don’t use a crib with broken parts or chipped paint.
    • Avoid cribs with decorative finials or posts
    • Steer clear of drop-side models
    • No more than 2 fingers should fit between the mattress and the crib itself
  • It’s important for you and any caregivers to learn the ABCs of infant sleep safety: alone, back, crib. Experts recommend that for their first 6 months, infants should sleep in mom and dad’s room, but not in their bed

Next up, Furniture. In this case less is more. If you're sharing a room like us, make sure that all furniture, mirrors and fixtures are anchored to the wall. Keep all heavy items at the bottom. We moved the dressers into the closet, securing them to the wall. Our wardrobes and shelving units are also secured to the wall. Most furniture comes with wall anchors but on the off chance they don't, anchors are easily found at retailers. As for plugs and cords, all outlets have protective covers and any cords must be 3 or more feet away from the crib. For the baby monitor, we decided to run and secure the 10-foot cord under our mattress to the opposite side of the room. All other cords are secured either behind our headboard or the wall unit. Next, we moved all of his changing table 'essentials' (ointments, small caps and medications) to a cubby in the headboard out of his reach. As soon as baby starts teething they will want to put anything and everything in their mouth, so make sure he always has access to age appropriate toys in order to avoid choking hazards. We also have a no Lego / small toy (anything under the size of a golf ball) rule outside of the boys’ bedroom in affect in our house. Our rooms are on opposite sides of the apartment and if anything is found outside of their space it is promptly thrown in the recycling, no questions asked. It's good incentive for them to be responsible.

Decor Tip: Let the crib do all the talking and skip any unnecessary furniture in the room. Add color and prints with paint, wall paper and artwork (out of baby's reach).

As you may have noticed, we chose two prints for above Indiana’s crib. We took some extra precautions when hanging artwork near his crib -

  • Don’t pick heavy pieces - we opted for this set because Minted’s frames are usually super lightweight and the glass is safety glass. I would avoid any heavy decorative frames above or around the crib.
  • We hung them high enough so he couldn’t reach them when standing in his crib. A good rule of thumb is to anticipate how high arms can stretch and then add another 8”+. We actually had our 6 year old stand in the crib when we hung them, for reference.
  • Secure, Secure, Secure. This is one of those instances where one nail or hook isn’t going to do it. We have pre-war walls, so we have to secure everything twice, it’s super annoying but most frames come with a wire in the back AND the backers for the nail. I highly suggest you put a molly in to anchor it more securely to the wall and go the extra distance to also you the wire. You can switch up your anchors like using a nail for one part and command hook the for the next.
  • If you’re going to opt to put your crib near the wall,  don’t push your crib up all the way against the wall. We personally can’t because our apartment has these 1-2’’ baseboards that push everything away from the wall. On the off chance that your artwork hanging skills aren’t up to par (accidents happen!) it’s best to have your crib a safe distance away from the art so it falls behind the crib not into it. Give yourself an extra 2-3” between the wall and the crib.

Furniture Safety Checklist:
  • Bookshelves, dressers and changing tables are all susceptible to tipping over, posing the danger of crush injury or death.
  • Anchor furniture to the wall to stabilize it and keep heavier items at the bottom.
  • When it comes to changing tables, always use the safety straps on the changing pad to keep a hand on your infant whenever he or she is on the table.
  • Keep the table clear of any potentially dangerous items like small caps, cleansers, medications or ointments that your infant could grab and put in his or her mouth.
  • Try to position them away from electrical outlets, and place protective covers over all plugs.

For windows: we stuck to curtains. They can be pulled aside or knotted in the middle to keep out of reach if needed. If you're going to opt for special window blinds invest in a cord shortener. In NYC, any child under the age of 10 living in a building requires bars across the windows for safety. Sure, they're not the prettiest in the world, but as an extra safety measure I feel a little more secure. Obviously, windows should always be closed when you're not in the room, and furniture should never be placed near a window – including a crib. Babies and kids are great at parkour, so they will use anything and everything to help them climb up to where they want to go. Hence wall anchors and windows on the opposite side of the room. If you absolutely have to have a piece of furniture opt for something that folds up and is easily put away. This foldable canvas chair is great for reading to Indiana but once we’re done we fold it up and put it into the corner behind the shelf.

Window Safety Checklist:
  • If window treatments have cords, snip the loop or install a cord shortener to keep the cord out of the reach of little ones.
  • Keep cribs, beds, and furniture away from windows, so children cannot use them to climb up to the window.
  • Always keep windows closed when you aren’t in the room.
  • Install window stops to keep them from opening any more than 4 inches – screens do a great job of keeping bugs out, but not keeping children in.

Want to know more about nursery safety? Check out for tips on help to make a nursery as safe as possible and the Make Safe Happen App for new safe sleep/safe nursery content with links to safety products on

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nationwide .  The opinions and text are all mine.