Pretty colors, soothing shapes, and developmental benefits—what’s not to love? Baby mobiles make a sweet impression, inspiring delight in babies and parents alike. But these popular nursery decorations can prove dangerous, even deadly, if poorly made or improperly used.
Before you install a baby mobile in your little one’s nursery, make sure to take these five important safety considerations into account.
Length of Mobile Strings
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a mobile should be hung with strings high enough that a baby could never pull it down and risk strangulation. While store-bought models should meet this requirement, the same cannot be said for antique, homemade, or individually crafted mobiles. Before hanging any mobile on or near your baby’s crib, double check that it is well beyond your baby's reach.
Potential Choking Hazards
Mobiles with small, detachable parts pose a choking hazard and should not be used in the nursery. Before installing your mobile, give it a thorough once-over. Look out for any flimsy hardware or loose parts that could break off and fall into the crib.
While it’s important that the mobile remains out of reach, you do want to place it close enough for your baby to enjoy. Newborn babies have an optimum sight range of between 8 and 12 inches and have trouble focusing on objects outside of this window. Try hanging your mobile so that the bottom hangs approximately 16 inches above the surface of the crib mattress. If your baby appears uninterested, you can always lower it a tad. That being said, make sure your little one can’t reach it, and never let the strings dangle below the crib rails.
Mobile Installation and Maintenance
Always install mobiles securely and according to the manufacturer’s directions. Perform regular hardware checks to ensure your baby’s mobile remains securely fastened, and make sure to register your chosen model. If a product is recalled for safety reasons, registered users will be the first to hear about it.
Mobiles are designed to entice newborns to focus and reach out for objects of interest. Leave one in the crib for too long, and your little one might just catch it!
By the time baby reaches five months, or as soon as he or she begins to push up on their hands and knees, it’s time for the mobile to go. If your growing baby manages to reach it, he could pull it down on himself, risking injury and even strangulation.
Can’t bear the thought of relegating that beautiful baby mobile to the closet? Why not consider hanging it somewhere else? Try mounting it from the ceiling over your favorite cuddle spot or hanging it over the changing table to distract your little wiggle monster during difficult diaper changes. Just make sure it remains out of reach and away from the crib.
Wondering what else you can do to keep your little one safe and sound? Always follow crib safety guidelines, and be sure to properly babyproof your nursery.