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Baby gear

  • Plan on using about 70 diapers a week for your baby.
  • Get a car seat and make sure you can install it correctly.
  • Be sure any pre-owned items are clean and safe to use.
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Changing tables

You can use a standard changing table or a changing pad attached to the top of a dresser.

Shopping tips

 

  • Look for a changing table that is flat. Make sure it has a barrier on all four sides, a pad, and a safety strap. We do not recommend contoured changing tables.
  • If the table is on wheels, make sure it has brakes that lock.
  • Make sure the table or dresser does not wobble. Give it a shake.
  • If you use a dresser whose top doubles as a changing table, buy a pad with a safety strap.

Safety tips

  • Use the safety strap every time you change your baby.
  • Never leave your baby alone on the changing table, even with the safety strap on.
  • Keep the diapers, wipes and diaper pail within easy reach.
  • Stop using a changing table when your baby is about 2 years old or weighs about 30 pounds. This will be around the time when it is hard to keep your baby still.

If you use a dresser as a changing table

  • Choose a dresser that is wide and low.
  • Use a pad with a safety strap.
  • Follow the directions for attaching the pad to the dresser.
  • Attach the dresser to the wall so that it does not tip over. You can use an “anti-tipover restraint” to do this.

For more information, visit Babies & Kids on the Consumer Reports website.

June 2008

Copyright 2008, Consumers Union of United States, Inc. All rights reserved. No redistribution allowed.

Baby gear

  • Put a car seat in your car.
  • Keep toys out of the crib.
  • Plan on using 70 diapers a week.
  • Get baby clothes and bedding.
  • Keep medical supplies on hand.

Most common questions

What is the safest crib for my baby?

A full-size crib is best for your baby. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is reviewing safety standards on cribs and urging parents to avoid drop-side cribs (cribs with sides that move up and down). Many of these kinds of cribs have been recalled. It's best to have a crib with sides that don't move. Other things to keep in mind:

  • Crib mattresses should be firm and tight-fitting. Otherwise, a baby may get trapped in the space between the mattress and the crib.
  • You shouldn't be able to put more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib frame.
  • Sheets should fit snugly.
  • Don’t use bumper guards on cribs because they pose a suffocation risk. Newborns and small infants aren't able to pull themselves free if they become stuck between the bumper pad and the side of the crib.
  • If you have a used crib, check the CPCS website to see if it's been recalled.
  • Make sure corner posts are less than 1/16 inch. Otherwise, clothing could get caught and your baby might strangle.
  • There shouldn't be more than 2 3/8 inches between crib slats so a baby's body cannot fit through.

What kind of car seat is safest for my baby?

If possible, buy a new car seat. That way, you're sure that it's never been in a car crash. If you're using a used car seat, be certain it is not more than 6 years old, has never been in a crash and hasn't been recalled (check the Consumer Product Safety Commission for recalls).

Look for a model with a five-point harness (two shoulder straps, two leg straps and one crotch strap). It's the safest for baby. You can choose an infant-only seat, which is always used rear-facing. You can also choose a convertible seat. These start out rear-facing but can change to a front-facing seat when your baby gets bigger. Other tips:

  • Recline a rear-facing car safety seat at about 45 degrees or as directed by the instructions that came with the seat.
  • Get a free inspection to make sure the seat is installed right.
  • If you have a baby who is premature or has a low birthweight, look for a car safety seat with the shortest distance between the crotch strap and the seat back. Ideally, pick one with a crotch-to-seat back distance of 5 1/2 inches.
  • Pay close attention to the lower weight limit of the car seat. The typical car seat is only suited for newborns that weigh more than 5 pounds. Look for infant seats that can accommodate a baby who weighs 4 pounds or less. Some manufactures sell inserts to attach to a regular infant car seat for preemies or low-birthweight babies.

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