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When To Lower Crib – Mattress Height Adjustments

Babies develop so quickly and in so many ways that it’s hard to keep up.

In fact, they sprout up at such an alarming rate, it can seem as if they’re not growing at all, rather, everything else is shrinking, from their clothes to their toys, their car seat to their stroller, and perhaps most worryingly, their crib.

As babies grow, their crib must be lowered in order to keep them safe, but when precisely in our kids’ development should we adjust their mattress height?

I had a vague idea, but this was mostly based on what parents with older kids had told me, and as safety regulations change so often, I needed further information.

I consulted my health visitor as well as a veteran pediatric nurse in order to get a definite, up-to-date answer.

The gist? Between the ages of 5 and 8 months, babies figure out how to sit upright on their own, and not long after, they can go from lying down to sitting up without your help, and as a general rule of thumb, when their head travels up, the crib should go down.

Read on for more crucial safety information regarding your baby’s crib height!

Is Lowering My Baby’s Crib Essential?

Crib injuries are insanely common across the US — We’re talking around 8000 ER visits a year! Any guesses what the majority of these injuries are?

That’s right, crib falls, something that can only happen when a child outgrows the crib height. So, is lowering our little one’s crib essential? Yep, absolutely.

Can I Lower My Baby’s Crib Straight Away?

Your next thought may be something along the lines of… if I’m going to have to lower the crib eventually, can’t I just lower it now and get it over with?

And it’s a fantastic question, the answer to which is, yes, you can definitely set your crib to a lower level before your baby even arrives, but before you go for it, consider the following.

When the crib is lowered, you have to bend down further to pick your baby up, which can be hell on the back right from the get-go, especially for recovering mothers, but as your child gets heavier, the physical strain of putting them in and taking them out of their crib can get pretty intense.

I tried this out to see if it was much more of a struggle, and over time, it does take its toll, so I’d advise against it.

What’s more, when positioning ourselves awkwardly to remove our babies from an overly deep crib, it’s more likely that we’ll accidentally grasp with too much force, potentially upsetting them.

By starting out on the highest setting, you make life a lot easier for yourself and your little one, so I’d recommend lowering your crib at a later date.

When Should I Lower My Baby’s Crib?

Between 5 and 8 months is usually the sweet spot, as this tends to be the period in which they become more mobile, no longer restricted to life on their back, but this time frame is based on averages, so it’s not a hard, fast rule.

After giving me the 5–8 month rule, my health visitor told my partner and I that we are the only ones who will truly know when to lower your child’s crib, as we’re the ones observing their progress.

If they’re sitting up before the 5-month stage, you should consider lowering the crib earlier to mirror their advanced physical development.

Similarly, if your child is something of a late bloomer, it’s absolutely fine to hold off on lowering their crib until they’re able to sit up, if you are concerned on how much weight can a crib hold, read that here.

However, sitting up isn’t the only sign that it’s time to adjust your crib height. If they’re yet to sit up on their own but seem like they might be getting ready to attempt crawling, it’s best to lower the crib.

When To Lower Crib - Mattress Height Adjustments

How Much Should I Lower The Crib?

When your child reaches one of the aforementioned milestones, you should lower your crib at least half a notch, but for maximum safety, I’d recommend lowering it by a full notch.

It’s not a big difference, but it definitely gave my partner and I some extra peace of mind. We also were curious if our crib mattress expires, read that article here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Lower My Baby’s Crib A Second Time?

Sitting up is just the start of your baby’s development where mobility is concerned.

It won’t be long before they’re capable of pulling themselves up onto their feet using the frame of the crib. Keep an eye out for this, as this is when the bulk of recorded crib-based injuries occur.

Babies normally learn to pull up around the 7–12 month mark, but, again, this range is based on averages, meaning it doesn’t account for all possibilities, so, be vigilant, and as soon as you catch your baby pulling themselves up, set the crib at its lowest setting.

When Should I Transition My Child To A Toddler Bed?

Eventually, even the lowest setting of the crib isn’t going to be deep enough to keep our little terrors safely contained, so we’ll eventually have to say goodbye to the crib and move them over to a toddler bed.

Generally speaking, when your child hits the 3-foot threshold, it’s time to make the switch.

For fast growers, this will probably be towards the end of year 2, while gradual growers may only reach this stage between years 3 and 4.

Once your child celebrates their first birthday (exciting!) I’d recommend measuring them on a monthly or bi-monthly basis because it’s both fun and ensures you’ll know when to make the switch to a toddler bed and keep them safe.

How Do You Lower A Crib?

I’m hesitant to provide a guide for lowering a crib, as the process can differ dramatically from brand to brand, fancy cribs to wood cribs and model to model. The best thing to do is flick through your user manual.

If for whatever reason you no longer have the user manual, I’d recommend trying to find one on the manufacturer’s site, and if there isn’t one, contacting the manufacturer directly and asking for a replacement manual.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to get a little lost when trying to keep up with the development and growth of our babies, but it’s important not to be lax where crib and mattress height are concerned, if you need steps on how to lower a crib mattress, read that here.

If it goes unchanged, it’s all too easy for our little bundles of joy to fall out and injure themselves.

So, once you’ve finished celebrating your baby being able to sit upright on their own, head straight to their nursery and make the change.

That way you won’t forget, and thus, won’t end up making any unscheduled trips to the ER.

Looking for a crib with a changing table check out our buyers guide!

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